Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
– Jude 1:21-24
Twenty years ago, off the coast of the Dominican Republic, a couple was attempting to break the free-diving record (a sport of testing how deep a person can go on one gulp of air). After Audrey had descended to the predetermined depth of 561 ft, her lift bag tragically did not inflate. What should have been a three-minute trip without oxygen, turned into eight minutes of eternity while her husband, Fransisco, watched helplessly from the surface. She would never live again in this life; what a tragedy. Living on the edge of eternity to break sporting records… dying in vain. It reminds me of a 100-year-old poem:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Your bounce back isn’t complete unless you’re able to help someone else. You were made to make a difference! In order to do so, we must
Determine to Remain Close
As I write this, we are again in quarantine. Never before have we suffered such separation and isolation. We should remember that have been brought together by the Holy General – and together we must remain. We are not the body of Christ separated. I am not the church by myself – only as I unite and gather with other believers (Heb. 10:25-26). As parents, as a family, as a church, as friends, as a team, as brothers and sisters in Christ – we are called away from the old way of individualism and selfism into a community of unity.
DON’T FORGET COMPASSION
When you think of love, who do you think of? Christ? Another Christian? Jude 22 says that differences are made by compassion. Real love. I recently saw a short video about a street-preacher who packed his box of pamphlets and went out into the city to preach. He shouted loudly about hell and judgment and sin. He proudly condemned people, especially those who rejected his message. He took the truth to the streets – but he forgot the love and mercy of our Savior. Will we care enough to take time or to spend a dime on someone in need? We are good at talking – can we listen?
As two men walked along the beach at low tide, one picked up starfish tossing them back into the deep water. “You’ll never save them all,” quipped the older man. As the younger bent over to pick up another, he said, “Yes, but to this one – it makes all the difference.”
REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE
Jude 23 implies that we might even have to pull some out of the fire who are at the edge of hell – ready to fall into the pit. But how can we reach a world we never touch?
There is a danger in churches: we have created a subculture of Christianity in which we never want to leave. The longer you are a Christian, the more you are tempted to segregate and isolate yourself from people in need. We have a comfortable bubble of people with whom we agree but many Christians have enjoyed the comforts of isolation instead of the seeing the power of the gospel at work. What about those of a different church, a different color, a different lifestyle, different backgrounds, different preferences, different opinions?
What will you do to reach those outside of your comfort-zone? What about those who intimidate you with their lifestyle? If you continue to fear, you will not make a difference.
In this final challenge, perhaps a knot of insecurity rises in your throat. “I can’t.” Jude 24 reminds you that “God is Able” to hold you up in everything and give you all the strength you need.
I am able to do all things through him
who strengthens me.
Genesis 19 gives us the example of good ol’ brother Lot. He lived in a city where he could really make a difference, but he failed to do so, even amongst his own family (Genesis 19:15-16). He was good at making excuses but not making a difference. You’ll never make a difference for someone else if you’re busy making excuses for yourself.
God is not in need of the rich or the well-educated. God doesn’t need fine-tuned techniques to or powerful communicators to make a difference. He just desires a surrendered and available person… and with you He will make a difference.
If God, through this book, has made a difference in your life, please consider passing it on that He might make a difference in another.