Contending for Faith
"Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 1:3
There was a time, early on in my walk with Christ, when I believed all things were possible. I wasn’t scared to pray for a sick person, even someone I hardly knew (and if I was, I don’t remember the fear, probably because my faith overshadowed it). I also felt the burden to pray for the lost and their utter need for salvation. Over time, however, that feeling dwindled. It’s not to say that I don’t pray for people, or even strangers for that matter, but the tenacity with which I used to pray has waned. Call it dwindling emotionalism, but I think it is deeper than that. Sure I was a brand-new convert that was bright eyed and bushy tailed concerning the things of God, but I don’t think that means as I grow in maturity I have to lose that childlike faith. Far be it from me; Jesus tells us it is that very faith that we need to enter the Kingdom.
So how can we stay in a place of childlike faith in our God, the place of desperate desire to see him move? We must contend.
We see in the passage above that this faith was “[delivered] once for all…to the saints.” That means this desire (which I believe is in every true convert’s heart) to really see God and see the Holy Spirit move has already been delivered to us. We must then contend to keep it, not receive it. That may seem like a small distinction, but it isn’t; think about it. If I was trying to get a million dollars that would seem a monumental task. I would have to work very hard, make some savvy investments, or get some sort of inheritance by either luck or blessing. Contrarily, if I was trying to keep a million dollars I would simply have to either keep it (not waste it on foolish things) or else invest it wisely. Much simpler.
As I read of past moves of God, great revivals that swept nations, I catch myself feeling either guilty or weighed down. I feel guilty for not wanting it as much as I see these men and women did, or I feel the weight of the call is too great for me to bear. However, when I realize that hunger for a genuine move of God is a gift delivered once for all to the saints, those feelings can’t stand. It is the very desire to see God move in the first place that convicts my heart, shakes me out of spiritual hunger, and beckons me to a deeper place. I am not to compare my fire with any of those from the past and try to get to their level (as if that was something to be achieved). Instead, I merely have to contend to keep what is already given to me, to steward the desire God has given me to see the Holy Spirit come to both His church and the lost in power and conviction. While it seems very similar, there is one difference. I am not supposing the fire is mine, I am simply stewarding the fire given to all believers.
Let’s stop wasting our efforts in trying to achieve holiness while we shoot ourselves in the foot by constantly bombarding our eyes and ears with things that dull our spirits. Let’s contend for the faith, the one by which Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and so many others lived. The faith through which Peter and John lifted up lame men and the early church saw mighty miracles worked. Let’s see revival.