"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 20,21) Keep yourselves in the love of God. That may be the most demanding commandment we will ever hear. Many of us have a lowly revelation of the love of God. Some think of love as a warm feeling felt at special times. For others, love is worked out by always doing something good (according to natural thinking) for somebody else. Still others have the idea that love overlooks anything and everything for the goal of keeping peaceful relations with everybody, but at the cost of truth and morality. God's love is none of these things.
The love of God is the very nature and character of God, which moves in every situation to deliver men from sin and bring them into fellowship with himself. In the same way God did not leave it to us to define oneness, He also did not leave it to us to define love. We are plainly told that "God is love," and that His love was fully expressed at Calvary. When we want to enter into fellowship with God, we find that His love brings us in at the beginning, and that it is the motivating factor in all that He does. God's love is what holds everything together for all eternity. How we need an expanding revelation of God's love! We must have this to be able to move in fellowship with God and to be involved in what He is doing today.
God is love. God so loved the world that He gave his only Son. Love is the bond of perfection in the church. Paul prayed that we would know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. Christ declared who God is, so that the love with which the Father loved Him may be in us. Love will never pass away. Love never fails. Apart from the love of God filling our heart, we are powerless, but as we abide in His love we stand in His triumph. We have the promise of Jesus that if we keep His commandments, He will love us. We are commanded to keep ourselves in this love.
We cannot initiate this love on our own. When we try to love out of who we are, there is no power and no fragrance of God. We struggle and falter, and there is no fruit. We are not commanded to love in our own strength, but to keep ourselves in His love. There is a vast difference between those two. The first is self-effort, trying to do something for God in our own wisdom. The second only happens as we humble ourselves in His presence, acknowledging our lack and utter dependence on God to work in and through us for His own purpose. He must fill our hearts with His love, and this is not a one-time filling. God's love flows like a river, and our part is to live in that river.