This was a tough passage for me. Standing up for Jesus is exactly what I do, and it’s how I roll. But it wasn’t always the case. I was often deceived by those in church who “sounded good” but weren’t living a godly life. These folks didn’t have God’s seal of approval, but because they were in church, I thought they could be trusted. Jude is putting us on alert to be careful about these people. His opening lines welcome “all who have been called by God the Father,” and the message is timely for us today as well.
It takes more than going to church to make a person holy or in tune with God’s direction for their life. Over the past couple years, I’ve taken a much deeper look into what my faith means to me, what my relationship with God looks like, and how I’m sharing the gifts God has given me. It’s been a process. I’m the first to admit I’m a work in progress! We need to listen up to Jude’s warning here. It’s my prayer for you, as well, to be building a deeper relationship with God.
What thoughts went through your mind as you read this text? The angelic battle was cool! Perhaps you are familiar with individuals who fit the description of the ones Jude is calling out. It appears even angels lost their way. Satan is crafty, and we need to be watchful.
Who are these people? They “claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.” They have been blinded to the truth, the same truth that can set them free. Jude says that “even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Sometimes it’s best to leave the heavy lifting to God.
As Christ followers, we can often be naïve and trusting. Texts like these help us remember there are lurkers among us who may not have our best interests in mind. “These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires.” I’m sure we can all think of a few people who resemble this remark. Living through the COVID pandemic has made grumblers out of people who aren’t usually like that. That’s not what Jude is talking about.
I don’t know about you, but I am a rec0vering “people-pleaser.” Ever since I was a little girl, there was somebody I was trying to please. If I was in contact with one of these complainers, I would try and do everything I could to give them reason to look on the bright side. I realize now that grumblers often grumble because they are happy when they grumble. I don’t understand it, but it seems to be the case. It’s also helpful to know we can never please everyone.
It seems like Jude was describing a different individual when he said, “They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.” I know plenty of people who love to hear themselves talk and take advantage of anyone they can for their own selfish gain. It’s rather annoying, and I prefer to stay away from them, even without Jude’s warning. There again, these folks have not found the fulfillment the truth brings. Jesus Christ is their answer, but they didn’t ask the question.
Take some time today to reflect on what Jude’s message to you might be. How are you being called to defend the truth?
Let’s pray … Lord, I know there are many people in this world who are not “safe.” Help me be discerning and know who I should stay clear of and who I should help. I thank you for how you are looking out for me and giving me the messages I need when I need them. May I continue to love others despite their faults and failings. In Jesus’ name. Amen.