contend: struggle to surmount/ assert something as a position in an argument/ to use earnest efforts to obtain or to defend and preserve/ to strive to convince and reclaim
contend: con=with, tendere=to stretch, to strive
Jude 3 “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
What things in life do you consider worth fighting for? Your nation? Relationships? The right to spend inordinate lengths of time playing video games? As Christians, the list of things worth fighting for ought to include our faith first of all. But not necessarily in a physical way; most of the time contending for our faith is done through personally building blockades around certain areas of our lives to protect our testimonies. Or speaking up with God’s Word when lies are being raised in the place of truth.
Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Sometimes the people with whom we must contend for the faith are other believers—Nehemiah had to rebuke his own people for leaving God’s commandments and following the heathen. Certain issues are too petty to separate over, but certain other issues—key doctrines found in God’s Word—are important and deserve to be preserved.
Jeremiah 12:5 “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
If we don’t practice contending for the little things, how will we be ready to contend for the large? David did not wake up one day and decide to run out there and kill a giant. He trained for it, prepared for it all his life with minute decisions and courageous choices. He defended his flock from fierce beasts when he could have backed away to protect himself. Parents, train your children to be ready to contend with giants. Teens, choose now to do the hard things though they seem so insignificant. Every battle is a piece of the war.
Jude 9 “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
There is a difference between contending and being contentious. It is said that the mark of a gentleman is being able to disagree without being disagreeable. (However, there is a time to call people vipers and whited sepulchres—it’s a Biblical Baptist trait.) And just because one carries an opinion does not mean that opinion is correct. Every matter we contend over should be Biblically weighed before we commit our reputations to defending it.
1 Timothy 4: 1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
I have noticed that it is far easier to adjust to something than to fight over it. In the name of peace, or tolerance, or who knows what else, so many principles are given over to compromise, and truth is diluted with error. We allow our consciences to be seared, rendered insensitive, dulled to the still small Voice of conviction. I know because every day repeats my fight to keep a soft conscience uncalloused by excuses. Some days I lose. Some days I repent and seek to take back the ground I lost. Contending for the faith is a daily decision, and my future depends on whether I choose to swim or sink.
This contending can be likened to fighting fires, as the men are doing in the picture above. If we let the greedy flames of doubt and lies spread unstopped, we will wake up with our faith in ashes…if we wake at all. No matter how simple the spark or engulfing the flame, we must contend to keep our faith sure and safe. To preserve truth pure and uncorrupted. To stay built on the solid Rock and not stray with shifting sands.