There is a big difference between arguing and defending…
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. – Jude 1:3
As a country we’ll defend our freedom. As a community we’ll defend against crime. As parents we’ll defend our children. As husbands we’ll defend our wives. And as individuals we’ll defend our reputation. But when it comes to our faith all too many times I’m seeing people back down by taking the politically correct route of defense or worse yet wave the white flag of surrender and not say anything at all. And speaking of politics, some Christians seem to be more passionate about defending their political party or agenda then they are in defending their faith. We’re beating each other verbally all in the name of…politics?
On Sunday’s we’ll show up for church praising and claiming victory to the roof top in Jesus’ name, but on Monday cower in our cubicles the moment a co-worker confronts us with anything religious, biblical, or related to our faith. In the comfort of our church buildings we talk a good talk, but the moment a false teacher slaps us in the face slandering our King, misquoting scripture, and twists the truth we go silent all because we don’t want to offend anyone.
COME ON! Seriously!? (sorry had to get that off my chest)
No wonder people confused and lost. How are they going to be equipped to live for Jesus if they can’t defend their faith? How are they going to share their faith (Matthew 28:19-20) if those who are suppose to be leading the battle are running in retreat like the Israelite army did against the Philistines? What example are we setting?
There is a big difference between arguing and defending and it’s time we CONTEND for the faith. For example; I will not ramble on and on and on via Facebook , my website, or in person with someone choosing to pick a fight for the sole purpose of slandering my beliefs because they are looking for a license to sin and choosing to deny Christ.
For certain men whose condemnation was written aboutlong ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. – Jude 1:4
But after some dialogue if I can clearly see they will not back down or quit I’ll withdraw from the conversation, but NOT without first defending my faith using the clear message of the gospel. Then I’ll pray for that person asking for their heart to be broken to see Jesus. You see, by using scripture, withdrawing from the conversation in a quiet loving way, and praying for them I’m not backing down nor have I argued with them. Rather I’m stepping aside to allow a strong and powerful Hero to push the front line…the Holy Spirit.
Does defending my faith mean I’ll be beaten verbally and maybe even physically? I’m sure of it. But if I’m going to claim that Jesus is my Savior and King and be obedient to His Word then I MUST defend my faith.
Paul suffered in many ways. Just read 2 Corinthians 11 and listen to Paul go through his resume.
“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”
In Acts 14 Paul is taken outside the city of Lystra and stoned. Afterwards he gets up and goes back into the city. Talk about being committed at defending the faith.
“Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.” – Act 14:19-20
Compared to what Paul and the apostles faced, a verbal slap in our face today is nothing. Like Rocky barely flinching after taking a punch in the jaw, facing his offender and standing firm, it’s time we defend our faith. In Jude 1:3 God urges us to contend for the faith. It’s time we defend our faith using our scriptural arsenal rather than waving the white flag of surrender, tossing out opinion bombs, or rolling out tanks of useless arguments.
“urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”