Friday, August 29, 2008

Contend

"I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith..." (Jude 1:3)

Recently I began studying the book of Jude with a group of women at church. I'll be honest, Jude is not one of my favorite books of the Bible, but it's been good for me to dig deeply into Scripture again. Last week, one of our assignments was to do word studies--one of the parts of inductive Bible study I most enjoy. The searching that various women did led to some interesting insights as we shared.

The verse I quoted above is probably the best-known verse in this little book; many people, when they think of Jude, think of "contending for the faith." And that would seem appropriate in light of the dangerous people about whom Jude warns his readers. The word "contend" conjures images of apologetics, defending the faith, fighting for what you believe.

But someone suggested on Tuesday night that we need to contend for the faith even when we're alone. Often contending is not about arguing with an atheist--it's about fighting the enemy within. It's about overcoming the sin in your own life; it's about struggling to cling to what you know to be true, defending the faith against your own unbelief.

The NIV Study Bible describes "the faith" as "the gospel and all its implications"--and those implications are deeply personal. It's not some abstract set of facts; it's about how the death of Jesus on the cross changes me. "The faith" says I am a new creation...I am God's beloved daughter, with full access to His throne of grace...I am free of guilt and condemnation...I am no longer a slave to sin...I will live forever with the King.

And so "contending for the faith" starts with my internal monologue. It means preaching the gospel to myself daily; it means fighting to become what the gospel says I am, to trust that God keeps His promises.

5 comments:

Kayla said...

hmmm, this is good stuff. I often find that I need to battle the sin within myself on an hour by hour basis... it's not even just a once a day thing for me. Our Wednesday night Church starts back up NEXT WEEK and I just can't wait!!! I'm so ready to get back in the word studying with other women and being challenged to think outside my own thoughts.

Jennifer said...

Amy,

I just LOVE your blog! Your desire for the Lord is so comforting. I enjoy doing Bible studies as well. I'm actually writing a series on my blog on Bible study.

What would you say are the best ways to do a word study? (That will be one of the forms of Bible study that I will discuss.)

I look forward to hearing from you!

A Sis in Christ,
Jennifer Barker
http://jennifer-asag.blogspot.com/

sara jean said...

Amy, that is a very true fact. I have found in the last month or two that I have been needing to be more aware of contending my faith to myself when I'm alone. I've been living on my own for about five months and I've learnt that I'm not so good at it. If not for God's constant reminders of His presence in my life, I would feel very lost. Thank you for this reminder and encouragement.

anna said...

Wow, I just love that - "the gospel and all its implications."

Mari said...

This is so true! Great post...very insightful. Thanks for sharing.