"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called" (Jude 1)
For the longest time, I thought that it was up to me to stay in God. If I thought wrong, if I felt wrong, if I did or said something wrong, I was outside of God's loving embrace, feeling, good will, etc.
For the longest time, I believed that I had to hold onto God. It was dependent on me in some way to ensure that I never got nervous, angry, fearful or anything else. This was the life that I was leading.
Two days ago, I was meditating on a verse from Jude:
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 21)
When I read this verse in the past, I often believed that there was this great strain, this great pressure on myself to keep myself in the love of God. The previous verse talks about praying in the Holy Spirit, so I would deduce that it is essential for me to keep praying in the Spirit in order to stay in the love of God.
Then God had me look up the original Greek word for "Keep" in verse 21:
Original Word: τηρέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (tay-reh'-o)
Definition: to watch over, to guard
Usage: I keep, guard, observe, watch over.
5083 tēréō (from tēros, "a guard") – properly, maintain (preserve); (figuratively) spiritually guard (watch), keep intact.
This word appears elsewhere in Jude's Epistle, too.
Check it out in verse one!
"]P]reserved in Jesus Christ."
We are already kept in Him. God is already keeping us!
And no one is going to take us out of His hands!
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:28)
So, this notion of "keep yourselves in the love of God" speaks to respecting and remaining in your identity as "kept" in Christ!
It's not as though we suddenly fall out of God's love if we are not praying in the Spirit. It's a matter of maintaining and remaining in our new identity in Christ.
Paul writes to the Ephesians:
"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)
We already are accepted in Christ Jesus, but God the Father does not settle with calling His Son by name, but referring to Jesus as "The Beloved". Wow! We are in the Beloved, and God sees us as Beloved. Amen to that!
We do not have to strain to keep ourselves, lest we fall out or fall away in some fashion. He is already keeping us, and He has promised to keep us "kept".