Journal Entry // December 4, 2022
But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. (ESV)Jude 10
This passage in Jude always catches my attention when it comes along in my yearly reading plan. I say that, because I don’t remember hearing any preaching/teaching on this passage or the letter of Jude very often. Even though this letter is only 25 verses there is a lot of helpful and challenging rebukes and exhortations. This one in verse 10 always makes me stop and contemplate how I, like the ungodly, am behaving and living as an unreasoning animal. It’s a vivid picture of a life based on basic instincts and feelings flowing out of a heart that is devoid of understanding the truth of God’s word. A life that blasphemes, belittles, or marginalizes the truth of God’s word and commandments. Like a wild animal, the person Jude is describing lives their life based solely on their feelings and their own understanding. They may even have a basic knowledge of God’s word that shapes their own personal level of morality, but it is not rooted and informed by the gospel. It is processed and filtered through their own instinctual and emotional internal systems that distort God’s truth into their own individual personal version of truth and morality. Seemingly living their life as their own master and god.
I read this passage and it is easy to acknowledge the truth in this statement but to then move on quickly thinking that it really doesn’t apply to me. I know that I am not living my life as an unreasoning animal. I know that I am reading God’s word and striving to walk the straight and narrow path that leads to Christ. I want to read this passage and immediately think of all the rebellious sinners that are openly blaspheming God and truly living every moment of their life as this unreasoning animal. The problem with this is that I know that if it wasn’t for the grace of God, I too would be living as this instinctual animal.
I know this because when I take the time to really think and reflect on my sin, when I really shut out all the noise and distraction and I am left alone with just my thoughts and the Spirit of God within me, I see the terrible truth of this passage still clawing and scratching at my heart. I see my tendency to stray and wander from the truth of God. I see my yearning for the things of this world. I see how my subjective feelings hold a tremendous amount of sway in my decisions. I see that my desires are oftentimes less informed by the words of God and more aligned with the false narratives of this world.
The good news is that the grace of God is active and moving in my heart as the Spirit abides within me. I am not this instinctual animal living to only satisfy my warped feelings and desires. I am striving and persevering in the way of truth. I am meditating on the truth of God’s word. I am working to see God’s word not just sit in my mind and become some puffed up theological commentary where I can easily recite and declare the truth of the gospel. I want the knowledge and intimacy of God’s word in my mind for sure, but I want to see this move to my heart. I want to know and understand all the Bible teaches and I want it to inform and change my emotions, passions, and desires. I want to see my life grow and develop into maturity. A maturity that understands that the center of everything, the reason and being for all things, the meaning and purpose of my life is only ever for Jesus. Jude best describes this at the end of his letter when he says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” That’s my motivation and purpose for everything.