“The fear of people becomes a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord will be set on high”
There are two kinds of fear; the fear that comes as a natural reaction due to an outside source to protect oneself from danger. The second is a fear that is not real but falls into the category of “what do they think…about me.” When “me” is inserted into the equation, and we listen to those voices, we have broken God’s Commandment “You shall have no other gods before “ME.” It can happen when we see or hear whispers and the receiver’s eyes are focused on “me.” Immediately we think; what are they saying about “me.” When we fall for Satan’s snare, he seeks to stamp “unworthy” on our foreheads. But we know that we are worthy in God’s eyes because Jesus died for us and we have stamped “Believer” on our foreheads. If we are not careful and fall for Satan’s tricks, we quench the Holy Spirit that has sealed us. “Anddonotgrievethe HolySpiritof God, bywhomyou were sealedforthe dayof redemption” [Eph 4]
Now, right in the middle of this verse is the little but powerful word “but” which means there is a contrast to what came before and what follows. The phrase that follows is: “whoever trusts in the Lord.” Do we really trust in the Lord? If we are fearful of people’s words or looks, we have fallen for Satan’s snare which a dead end street. Remember this, Jesus is on your side, He has never forsaken His own: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart… therefore, do NOT lean on your own understanding.” [Prov 3]. Open your ears to God speaking: “This is the way, walk in it,” [Is 30] He has the escape route. [1Cor 10]
As a child who often spoke first and thought later, the taste of soap became a regularity. Had it really done its job, this mouth would have been antiseptically clean. However until that antiseptic, called the Holy Spirit, did His work this mouth continued and will continue to exude that which dishonors and defames because “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” [Matt 15]
God has given us His divine power pertaining to life and godliness, but also with that comes responsibility, a responsibility that without Christ would be burdensome. But, Christ said, my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Christ can carry the yoke by himself but two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. [Ecc 4].
If our salvation is so great why do we not live like it? We say, oh yes, I have this temper you understand, just accept me as I am. Saying that means we do not understand the depth of grief we cause the indwelling Holy Spirit or how deeply we quench His power. Perhaps that is why Paul wrote: let no unwholesome word (sapro = rottenness) proceed from your mouth. In other words, not just wash that mouth with soap but with the holiness that has been imparted to you so that you are edifying not corrupting.
Here’s where we need to end up: Psa 141:3Set a guard, O Lord, overmymouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Often we have packages we want to ship or packages are shipped to us in what we have come to know as “shrink wrapping.” Polymer plastic is wrapped around a fragile object and then heat is applied so that the plastic conforms to the image. The NET Bible translates: 1:1 From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. Immediately the image of shrinking wrapping came to mind! As a manufacturer applies heat the heat shrinking process begins and the plastic film being used then conforms to the image. How like God to “shrink wrap” me so I can be protected from the elements of this world. His shrink wrapping consists not of plastic but His love and the Holy Spirit’s power. How protective is the Father’s Love!
Jude reminds his readers that they are Beloved of the Father, they are kept in His love. This is a reminder that the Holy Spirit is given to me to keep me, protect me. His protection is lost when wI grieve or quench His power. That is why I must be earnestly seeking to be filled each and every day. It is the prayer of Jude that I know that the Father has lavished, note that this ispast tense, His mercy, peace and love upon these believers and this applies to me as well. And all of this happens inside that shrink wrapping! Do you feel special yet Beloved? I feel so wonderfully protected, how about you, do you feel protected?
But Jude also wants those who are the beloved to contend earnestly for the faith that has been entrusted to them. Paul said much the same to Timothy: “Compete well for the faith and lay hold of that eternal life you were called for and made your good confession for in the presence of many witnesses.” [1Tim 6]
From there Jude builds his message to them with several important reminders:
Build yourselves up on your most holy faith
Keep yourselves in God’s love
Have mercy upon the doubters, save others, snatch them from the grasp of the evil one
Remember is only Jesus that can keep you from stumbling. Only He can make you stand holy and unblemished in His presence with great joy.
As you ponder this very short and powerful letter, contend earnestly, warmly, zealously, with great eagerness. Think about being shrink wrapped in the Father’s love and praise Him for His love and care.