Trusting God; May 12, 2020

Jude 1:24-25 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

After writing so strongly about despicable false teachers, Jude wraps up with one of the most beautiful doxologies in the whole Bible. He is saying, “Yes, these men are horrid and dangerous, but if you keep your focus on God, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” That’s very valuable, helpful advice. We all tend to focus on what’s around us, even to the point of forgetting the One in whom we “live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) It is quite true that we can’t keep ourselves straight, but He can, if we will submit ourselves to Him. That’s why pride is the greatest hindrance to salvation. Sometimes very earnest people can’t seem to get through to God, and the reason is very simple: they’re trying to do it on their own. That’s a major reason Jesus said we have to be like little children to enter the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:17) A little child doesn’t think they can do it on their own, but they trust Daddy. It is true that in physical and emotional maturation we need to grow to accept responsibility and make an effort, and that’s actually true spiritually as well, but in the final analysis we have to acknowledge that all power and ability lie with God alone, and we are no more than stewards of what He entrusts to us. My next-older sister had a catch phrase when she was a little girl: “Selfie do it.” She was working hard on her independence! That’s where we have to differentiate between being childlike and being childish. A childlike person is trusting and obedient, a childish person thinks they are the master of their own destiny – and that of everyone around them as well! We need to remember who God is, and who we are in relation to Him, and be done with both anxiety and rebellion.

I’ve had my own struggles with this. I’ve had periods of real anxiety, but more than that, I’ve had too many times of feeling I was supposed to be in control, when any real authority I have is always and only because I am submitted to God. I should certainly know by now that I can’t keep myself from falling, but God can and that’s just fine. Ministering in Japan, I really think one of the greatest obstacles to Japanese becoming Christians is their national attitude of gambaru, of putting your all into it. That has served them well in various areas, but when it comes to salvation, they’ve got to acknowledge that their very best effort still isn’t going to cut it, and that’s something they don’t like to do. It often takes a crisis for them to make the commitment, and even then, after a while the rhythm of daily life can pull them away. I’ve got to keep speaking the truth in love and pray for the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit. I can’t keep them from falling, but God can!

Father, thank You for this, and especially for that last Word. Help me be faithful to say and do all that You desire, but ultimately leave each individual in Your hands. May we all look forward to that glorious assembly before Your throne, and rest, relax, and rejoice in the mean time, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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