Have you ever wondered what it means to “keep yourself in the love of God”? You might ask, if God’s love is unconditional, then why are we commanded to keep ourselves in it?
Is there a contradiction here? No. It’s merely two sides of the same coin. To grasp this, we must first understand something about God’s love from the Book of Jude.
Safe in Jesus
Believers have a promise from God: They are kept safe in Jesus.
Writing to first-century believers, Jude addresses his letter “to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ” (Jude 1 NLT).
If you go to a public place like Disneyland with your children, you know where they are. You don’t leave the park and forget them, because you protect what you love.
How much truer it is with God—even when we’re feeling shaken by crisis and feeling trapped in our circumstances.
In the original language, the clear implication is, “You are continually kept by Jesus Christ.”
Continually kept. What could be more encouraging than that?
Whatever your difficulties may be today, you need to know that you are preserved in Christ, and that He will maintain His investment, which He purchased at such a great cost at the cross. He will protect you, preserve you, watch over you, and keep you.
You Have Your Part
But here’s the interesting part: Jude then tells us, “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21 NKJV). So which is it?
It’s both. The Bible is teaching that God will keep us, but at the same time we must keep ourselves in His love.
This does not mean we have to do certain things to merit God’s love.
Rather, Jude is telling us to keep ourselves in a place where God can actively bless us, and to keep ourselves away from all that is unlike Him, and those things that would drag us down spiritually. In other words, we don’t keep ourselves saved, but we keep ourselves safe.
Often, that includes denying ourselves and embracing what God has for us.
In the 1970s the “self-esteem” movement was born. And we were told that all of the social ills of the day were due to low self-esteem, and that we all needed to learn to love ourselves more.
The Bible offers a different view.
You want to find life, purpose, and personal happiness? Then say, “Lord, here is my life. Here are my plans, my aspirations, my dreams—as well as my weaknesses, shortcomings, and sins. I believe that Your plans are better than mine, in the long run.”
God’s Love Keeps Us
Attacks will certainly come our way through fear, temptation, and doubt. Were it not for the preserving grace of God, none of us would make it. Clearly, we are preserved, protected, and kept by the power of Heaven.
Let’s make sure we walk in the generous protection and covering of God’s love, putting it on like a garment—or body armor—every morning before our feet hit the floor.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39 NLT)
Are you gripped by fear, choked out by worry, or overwhelmed with anxiety about today’s crisis? Find biblical answers in Pastor Greg’s free new ebook, Bringing Christ into Your Crisis.
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