Contending for the Faith
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. – Jude 1:3 (ESV)
In light of recent world news, including the great success of the Christian film War Room that is based around the power of prayer and the news about Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis being jailed for standing up for her beliefs and refusing to issue gay marriage licenses, one phrase keeps resonating in my spirit…”contend for the faith“. We see this phrase in the book of Jude and, in context, Jude is encouraging the saints of God to contend for the faith that was delivered to them because false teachers had come in to pervert the Truth and deny Jesus Christ as Master and Lord. I believe this verse was impressed upon my heart because this is the same call the Lord is giving to His people in this hour.
To contend means to strive for something, to struggle in opposition, or to assert yourself in a means to stake a claim. It is clear that for far too long, Christians haven’t been contending. In fact, it has been said that many are living in the midst of a battle that they are completely unaware is even going on. If the Lord has given us armor, why don’t we think we have to fight? With no understanding of the battle, there surely isn’t a recognized opponent and the two of these together are a recipe for loss.
Like a boxing match, Pastors and other church leaders are expected to be in the ring while everyone else sits on the side. We watch them throw the punches, cringe when they take the blows and cheer them on from the stands where we sit comfortably…untouched and unaffected. Unfortunately, many are willing to give their opinions on what churches and Pastors need to be doing differently, but they aren’t bold enough to step into the ring and do any work themselves.
We’re drifting through life instead of asserting ourselves to see victories won for what we believe in. In an attempt to embrace “inclusion”, we’ve mistaken love and acceptance for sitting idle while our very Savior is not only being rejected but berated and rebuked. The Christian walk isn’t passive as many believe it is.
More is required of us than going to church and living right.
In this I’m reminded of the building of the wall of Jerusalem…
From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah,17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. – Nehemiah 4:16-17 (ESV)
The Jews had an enemy that didn’t want them to build this wall of protection around their city and had conspired to fight against Jerusalem to stop the wall from going up. Without fear, they set a watch day and night and continued to build the wall with tools in one hand and weapons in the other. They were ready to defend their territory if at any time the watchers notified them that their enemy was approaching. We shouldn’t wait for evil to come to our doorstep or tragedy to strike our home to spring into action. Like the Jews building the wall, we should be ready at all times to both war and build the Kingdom.
Just like them, we have the ability to build a spiritual wall around our homes, our cities and our country through prayer and obedience. But because we not only failed to build that wall but allowed our watch to become lulled into complacency through the inclusion and acceptance movements, there is no contention. Without a watch, we were unaware that the enemy was advancing and, even worse, we were unprepared to fight for our territory. We’ve seen more heinous, senseless crimes than ever before and it’s not merely an issue of gun control, but rather a stark reminder that in refusing to be the opposition to that which is ungodly we’ve allowed our opponent to gain territory. Not only spiritual territory but now legal territory. And in war, territory is power.
So now knowing this, it’s time for you to contend for your faith. Stop sitting on the sidelines, come out of your hiding places and get into the match. The rest of us need you to do more than cheer us on and tell us that we’re doing a good job. Contend with us in prayer. Contend with us in standing for righteousness and spreading the gospel. Contend with us by not backing down when you’re confronted with the decision between your faith and this world. Contend with us in being vocal and active in the churches and the communities. Put on your gloves and get into the ring.
Ask yourself the hard questions. In what way have you inserted yourself into this battle? Are you truly willing to contend for your faith? The tides have turned and contending may mean more than just losing a few friends. As I write this, Deputy Clerk Kim Davis is in jail for contending for her faith. Through Jesus, we can have the strength to do what it takes, but you must first be willing and ready.