EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITHs
“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 NKJV)
…..to contend: to argue or claim that something is true; to fight with, struggle against, debate, dispute, compete, retain possession, strive, oppose, to defend. To hold unto without compromise.
….Earnestly: intensely or excessively serious and grave in manner or attitude. To
Undertake or make a commitment in spirit of deep sincerity and conviction, or
with deep feelings.
For us to further understand and fully appreciate what God is indeed demanding from us, we shall examine the parable of our Lord Jesus in Matt 13:44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
In our effort to ponder over this parable, there are questions that God may confront us with that are intended to test our resolve in the above subject. Until we come to the understanding, passion and desire of the man in the picture, God may not depend on us in His quest to raise men of like passion. We should note that no man can earnestly contend for what he does not have a thorough
Knowledge about. Jn.1:11 says ‘He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.’ Therefore, like Brother Paul we should desire to ‘know Him, His finished work on the cross, His resurrection and its implications in our lives. This can be received through intense and committed personal bible study, discipleship, which are driven by an inner hunger and thirst for Him. We must cry to God to set ablaze this desire in our hearts because when a man is on fire, it burns off every contention around him. The man in the picture was someone who has lived his life seeking for this treasure; therefore when he discovered it, deliberately choose to live for it. Paul in Phil.1:21 buttressed this truth when he said ‘for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ This is the testimony of a man who appreciates the immense treasure there is in the life of Christ, he considers nothing else other than living Christ and the gain in dying in Him. This is the kind testimony that God demands from any
man He must use to contend against all adversaries against the faith. ‘For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’ (Rom. 14:17). Our daily pursuit of this glorious kingdom should not be about meat and drink (the field) that perishes, but for its immense and lasting joy, the peace that passes all understanding and the unmerited
righteousness which the Lord himself gives. What are your motivating factors; are they meat and drink that are designed to rot away here on earth, or the wholesomeness of our Lord Jesus (the treasure) that transcends the gains of this world, and the joy of partaking in His eternal glory? If the former are your motivator, then you are ‘of all men most miserable’ and God will not count on
Matt.16:24 ‘Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ The demand of our Lord Jesus is that we ‘sell’ all that we are and have, take up our cross daily (crucifying the deposits of the flesh daily) and follow him (full and unwavering loyalty to Him). Total denial of self is the price that we must pay to ‘buy him’.
When we get to this stage of absolute submission, it will no longer be difficult for us to stick out our neck in defense of this priceless faith. Our confession and resolve shall be similar to that of Queen Esther who said ‘if I perish, I perish’.
Finally, we must identify three common enemies. These enemies are interested in the destruction of this treasure in us. Like the man in the picture who hid (guarded) this treasure, we should guard it: Rom.8:9 ‘so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’. One of the victories received at the cross was the termination of the power of the flesh. However we constantly battle against it.
Therefore, if we are to enjoy a life of continuous victory, the flesh should be constantly reminded of its termination on the cross. God does not partake in any battle done in the manner of the flesh, because God considers the flesh as His common enemy.
Gal.6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. We should be ready to contend against the world systems that are deliberately aligned to frustrate the full manifestation of the glory of His resurrected self in us. They must be done away with at the cross. Though coated in gold, these systems are not our friends, they are enemies indeed. John 14:30 ‘Hereafter I will not talk too much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and has nothing in me. Do you have any pact with the devil? Do you have any of his nature and tools of wickedness in you? Remember he is one of your common enemies. Earnestly contend against his schemes and you’ll be victorious.
George Duffield in his hymn: STAND UP FOR JESUS (stanza 1), urges us to ‘lift up His royal banner; it must not suffer loss’. What are your commitments towards this clarion call? HIS ROYAL BANNER MUST NOT SUFFER LOSS IN YOUR HANDS.