Spiritual Growth; November 12, 2021


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.

I can’t read this passage in English without Don Francisco’s musical setting for it running through my mind, but that’s not a bad thing! It is one of the most striking doxologies in the whole Bible, which is remarkable considering that it was written by someone who physically was Jesus’ kid brother. It’s interesting to think about his journey of faith, to go from thinking his big brother had flipped out to knowing that the person he had grown up with was the Son of God. In identifying himself at the beginning of this letter he does mention that he’s “a brother of James,” but rather than saying he’s a brother of Jesus, he says he’s “a servant of Jesus Christ.” (verse 1) Here, he reiterates the terminology of “Jesus Christ our Lord.” That process had to be very humbling for Jude, but we can be sure he was deeply grateful for it. I can’t even imagine going through that sort of shift of perspective. That said, the content of this doxology that makes it such a blessing to sing is the assurance that, in spite of all our weaknesses, God’s got us, and we don’t need to be anxious. Every time we slip up, every time we are confronted with our own foolishness and inability, we do well to remember this doxology, and praise God. Paul was likewise convinced of God’s all-sufficient faithfulness, writing things like, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 1:6) and “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9) The more we focus on ourselves, the less likely we are to believe that God could use us for anything worthwhile. The more we focus on Christ, the more we realize that He can do absolutely anything – even using us!

God had to take me from the heights of conceit, thinking I could do it all on my own, to realizing I could do absolutely nothing right without Him, (John 15:5) to finally realizing He could use me in spite of myself. I had a spiritually incredibly blessed childhood, perhaps not equivalent to growing up in the same house as Jesus, but somehow close. I squandered that amazingly! As I have come into better alignment with the Lord He has made good use of all that I have gone through, but I can take no credit for that. Right now I have no question that I will spend eternity with my Lord, but the fact that I’m still here teaches me that He still has things for me to do. I also know that in doing them, I will be further grown and purified, preparing me for the day I will stand before Him. I try to help others understand that for and about themselves, but they tend to look at me and place me in a separate category from them, not knowing all I’ve been through. Any differences among people are, to use a Japanese proverb, like acorns comparing height. All I can do is speak the truth in love, praying that the Lord would take the words from my mouth and use them to impart faith and revelation to my hearers, for their blessing and His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your incredible grace toward me. I pray that indeed every time I open my mouth, whether I’m talking to an individual, a group, or a crowd, that it would be Your words that come out, accomplishing all, and exactly, that you intend for them, (Isaiah 55:10-11) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

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