Monday, August 19, 2013

Fighting For Faith

                This morning I found myself in the book of Jude. I haven’t read it in a long time, but that is where the Lord wanted me this morning it seems, so that is where I landed. As I was reading, a few words stuck out at me. Since I am a “treasure seeker” of God’s Word, whenever a few words stick out at me that is where I stop and dig for treasure. The words that stuck out were “contend earnestly for the faith.” Jude is writing to his fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, those who have been “called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” (Jude vs. 2)

                Jude writes, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude vs. 3- italics added)
               The word contend is a Greek word which comes from an athletic term for wrestling. It is a strengthen form of the word meaning to agonize. Jude writes to exhort us, to encourage us, to strengthen us to pursue this course of contending for the faith. Our English language does not always do the Greek and Hebrew words of the Bible justice, nor express the depths of Jude’s desire for the people he is writing to. He is crying out to his fellow brothers and sisters, and to us to fight the fight of faith. He is telling us that to contend for something means that we will have to work hard and be diligent about our work. Do we fight hard for our faith?
                We are to contend for our faith like a fighter in a boxing ring, a wrestler in a wrestling match. We do not give up, but with an intensive force we fight for our faith. Jude wants us to see that our faith is precious. It has been given to us through the blood and body of our Lord Jesus Christ. He contended for you, He fought for you upon that cross, the question is do we fight for Him?
                How many times have I backed down from some sin I saw and not said a word because I didn’t want to upset anyone, or I didn’t want to cause an argument. We compromise our faith my fellow brothers and sisters, and this compromising has caused our faith to become weak, and our testimonies to wither. We are called to be soldiers for Christ. Not fighting to win the war, because the war has already been won; but fighting the battles that are still raging in this world, the insurgents who come against us. The sin and the temptations that we face everyday- that is the battle we still fight- that is the battle of our faith.

                Is your faith in Jesus Christ precious? Do you value it? If your answer is yes, then do you contend for it? Do you fight for the faith? Or do we give up because we don’t want to offend? We are to be contending for the faith; which means that we are to be living an uncompromising life as Christians, and that we are giving the glory and credit to the Lord Jesus Christ who changed us from sinners to saints.
                I can, in all honesty say that I have not always contended for the faith with a fierce earnestness. I have allowed compromise, I have allowed doubts and the fear of confrontation weaken my faith and my testimony. David Guziak comments that “we can also contend for the faith in a negative way by withholding support and encouragement from those who compromise the faith.” We are to contend, we are to fight, and we are to be soldiers in a battle for the faith that is precious. We are to not allow compromise to weaken our faith, we are to support and encourage those who contend alongside with us, and encourage and support those who compromise their faith.
                Do we say anything when someone speaks out against the gospel? Do we say anything when the world tries to put its beliefs upon the churches and our fellow brothers and sisters? Or do we compromise and back down because we don’t want to rock the boat and cause an issue. We, as Christians, must stop being politically correct and get back to being Jesus correct. Paul writes to Timothy that he is to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

                Fight the good fight. We are to persevere against opposition and temptations; we are to put forth every effort in the good fight of faith. We are to stand against those who stand against the gospel, we are to speak out against sin and we are to stand beside one another, exhorting one another and encouraging one another to keep on fighting. I see the compromises all the time, even I have compromised on the fight of my faith.
                “Going God’s way- against the flow of this world- won’t be easy. God calls us to be fighters, but to fight the good fight of faith- a fight where some may lose a battle here and there, but they will carry on the fight with great determination until the war is over-when we lay hold on eternal life.” (David Guziak, commentary on 1 Timothy 6:12; Blue Letter Bible) This fight of faith is not easy, we will face opposition, we will find ourselves in situations where we must be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us (2 Timothy 4:2) and we will be going against the world, going down a one way street in the opposite direction.
           
     But perhaps this is what our world needs- more Christians willing to fight the good fight of faith, more of us Christians willing to step out of our politically correct minds and step into the battle for the gospel of Jesus Christ. If your faith is precious to you, then we must take up the sword of our armor, the Word of God and go into battle. We must put aside the doubts and fears, the compromising and get back to being the soldiers God has called us to be- earnestly contending for the faith which we have been given.
                How do we do this? We speak out for Christ. We live an uncompromising Christian life, we call sin- sin, and we stand upon the Word of God. We stand for God, who stood for us. We let go of the idea that we might offend and embrace the fact that Jesus does offend, and has offended the world since the day He was born in the flesh. The very name of Jesus Christ offends those who are caught up in sin and death, but we risk offending Him when we compromise and do not fight for the faith He suffered so desperately to give us. Fight my sisters. Fight the good fight of faith, earnestly contend for the salvation which you have been given, and do not compromise anymore.

                As we take up our swords and our shields I pray that we, as the Church in America would stand for Christ and compromise no more. That we would contend for the faith, that we would fight the good fight of faith, that we would let go of the politically correct and embrace that Jesus is correct and no matter what, He is the Only Way. May the Lord strengthen you, and give you the will to fight for His Name. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.