Contend for the Faith
Read Jude 1:1-4
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.
Arm wrestling may not be considered a professional sport, but over the years, I have found it entertaining to watch. As two opponents go head to head, it’s easy to make assumptions about who might win based on their physical size and stature. For some people, it’s an easy win overtaking the competition within seconds. For others, it comes down to a test of strength as two contenders duel it out giving it all they’ve got.
In verse 3 of the book of Jude, the author pens a letter to the Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem. In contrast to what he initially planned to discuss, Jude admonishes the believers to contend for the faith. This change in direction was necessary because Christianity was under attack as a result of false teachers propagating hearsay.
As believers, it is a privilege to be able to come into the faith. However, our role and our responsibility does not end there. Once we have this faith, we are obliged to contend for it in a world where we are up against much opposition. There are different systems, institutions, ideologies and actors which are actively waging war against our belief and confidence in God. Contending for our faith is our way of protecting what has been entrusted to us – that is to say, we have a responsibility to govern our faith accordingly. To contend for it is to not allow it to dwindle or diminish in the face of doubt.
Moreover, the phrase “contend earnestly for” in the Greek is translated “to struggle for.” There are going to be times when the present circumstances may appear discouraging, ultimately putting your faith to the test. You will be pitted right up against the opponent in an unavoidable and inescapable way. The nay-sayers, the gatekeepers who do not want you to graduate, the people who do not want to approve the mortgage, the management who want to deny you that promotion, and the haters that even want to frustrate your wedding plans. Since a struggle is two-sided, you know that you have a hold, a grip, that has to be strengthened in order to be victorious. However, know that your position in the struggle means that you have the opportunity to win because you have chosen not to forfeit, but instead to endure.
Gaining that muscle strength is going to require you to be dedicated so you will not back down at the faintest sighting of a challenge. Regardless of how intimidating the contender may seem, you must know that you were set up to win (1 John 5:4). You are not contending alone. And, the more you build that muscle strength through the Word, the easier it will be for you when you go head to head with your next opponent. You will be able to shut down that opposition because you possess the secret weapon that guarantees your victory. You may be forced to contend sometimes, but in actuality, for your adversaries, it was never a fair fight.
Reflection: How will you continue to contend for the faith as the year progresses?
Father God, thank You for the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. I know that through You I will be able to earnestly contend for the faith in the face of any opposition or doubt. May I fill up on Your Word, so that I will be adequately prepared for every struggle. In Jesus name, Amen.
Written by Deborah Nimoh