Jude 1:3 (New King James Version)
3 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.
Defending the Christian faith is one of the most vital aspects of following Christ, both today and in New Testament times.
The writer of the book of Jude, calling himself a bondservant of God, uses a very interesting form of the word ‘contend’ when discussing its relevance to Christianity.
When translated from ancient Greek, ‘contend’ is directly parsed from the word ‘to agonize.’ Often used to describe athletic wrestling matches or sports of great physical endurance, ‘contend’ is a strengthened word that carries the qualities of hard, even dangerous work. In this verse in Jude, the prophet’s exact phrase exhorts readers to ‘contend earnestly for the faith,’ which is grammatically translated in the ‘present infinitive’ form. In other words, Jude is explaining in no uncertain terms that the struggle of defending the faith will be ongoing for the entirety of our Christian lives. The labor will not be easy, nor will the match be easily won. But the reward that lies in wait for us will be so, so glorious.
Contending for the Christian faith is not something we can do as a pastime. It isn’t something to fill up a lazy Saturday afternoon, or impress your friends with during weekly bible study. Instead, the true purpose of the practice is much more meaningful. Christians ‘contend earnestly for the faith’ because it is a valuable cause worth fighting for.
A great way to think about this concept is to consider other valuable things that are contended for on a daily basis. What about art galleries, jewelry stores, or museums? The artifacts and pieces of fine art stored in these places are breathtaking, and could provide wealth beyond measure. To preserve these things, there are security guards, alarm systems, electronic door locks, and other surveillance systems that keep them safe from harm.
The bottom line? Valuable things are protected and contended for because of their inherent worth. Worthless things are not.
If you are not contending earnestly for the Faith today, ask yourself what faith really means to you. How priceless is the Word of God in your life? Is this a faith worth fighting for? I pray your answer will be yes.
It may seem like a weighty term, but contending earnestly for the faith does not require any special tools or tricks. In fact, you can contend for the faith today by:
Looking out for false teachers or prophets, refuting them and correcting them in love.
Preventing the perversion of the Gospel by those who seek to do it harm.
Be educated about why you contend for your faith. Those in war never do battle without the proper equipment. Put on the full armor of God!
Pray earnestly and continually.
Live in faith and pure obedience to God.
Friends, our faith is worth contending for. Let’s follow the gentle pull of Christ on our hearts.
How could you see yourself contending for the faith this today? What about in the months and years ahead? God calls all of us to run our race of faith well, and to finish strong despite the obstacles that lie ahead. Let us contend for the faith with both strength and endurance.
1 Timothy 6:12 (New Living Translation)
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses.
Philippians 1:27 (Berean Study Bible)
27 Nevertheless, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending side by side for the faith of the gospel