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But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18for they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts." It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.
A Full-Time Job
When I was kid, sometimes I’d come home from school frustrated because, in my opinion, a classmate wasn’t doing what I thought he should be doing. Now, generally this happened when the class was given some kind of assignment, and while I worked hard, someone else didn’t work hard enough, at least not in my opinion. But then, for some reason, we’d both get the same grade or maybe he skated through without a comment from the teacher. And I’d come home frustrated, and then I’d do what any kid would do in my place. I’d huff and puff at my mom. And even though she’d usually listen patiently as I complained about Nicky or Rodney or Blaine, she’d nearly also say the same thing when I finished up my rant. She’d say, “You really shouldn’t get all worked up about what other people are doing or not doing. Just looking after yourself is a full-time job.” Now that’s what she’d say.
And I’ll tell you, I think that’s what Jude is also saying in the verses we just read. You see, there will always be folks outside and even within the church who cause all kinds of trouble. Some are what I call “pot stirrers,” because they love to stir up controversies whenever possible. And some are gossips, passing on information with little concern about whether what they’re saying is true or not. And still others are contrarians, disliking any ideas that didn’t come from their own brains. These kind of people are all around us, and they can cause us to spend a lot of time and energy just feeling frustrated. But Jude reminds us that, while our attention is on them, we’re being distracted from doing those things God wants us to do. You see, we can trust that the one who misses nothing will deal with these divisive folks in his time. But for us, well, living the Christian life is really a full-time job.