Jude spent most of this short letter talking about ungodly people who pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality and who deny the divinity of Jesus as sovereign and Lord. These people cause divisions within the church and follow their own desires rather than the Holy Spirit. But as he came to the end of his letter, Jude offered some closing words to the faithful ones he was writing to.
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.Jude 1:20-21 NIV
These were people who were waiting for the mercy of Christ to bring them to eternal life. They were living in this world, but looking forward to the life that was to come. This is the opposite of those who are focused on this world and the pleasure that it offers.
As they waited, Jude told them to keep themselves in God’s love. I believe this is similar to the greatest commandment, to love God with all that we are. This is not something that just happens. It is intentional. It is living my life in such a way that God is at the center of all I do.
And Jude gives us two ways that we can keep ourselves in God’s love. The first is by building ourselves up in our most holy faith. Become deeply rooted in the faith and in God’s word. Intentionally invest time and effort in understanding and practicing your faith. It will not happen by accident or by passively sitting on the sidelines.
And, secondly, he tells us to pray in the Holy Spirit. I do not believe that he is telling us to pray in tongues as some might suppose. Rather he is telling us to pray in the power of the Spirit. As you pray, allow God’s Spirit to fill you and guide you in your prayer. And listen to the Spirit’s response to you. Prayer should be a two-way communication. All too often, we make it one-way, talking to God but not listening to his response.
So, while you wait for the Lord to come for you, grow in God’s love by investing time in his word and in prayer. Not just a casual reading and simple listing of requests. But investing your whole self in it.