4/29/18 Jude 17-25
Contending does not necessarily equal contentious!
If I can make one point stick it would be that we must learn to contend without being contentious.
I know this is possible, knowing that the promise of God is that He is able to keep us from stumbling. We need not stumble even though we often do. Being contentious, I think, is a form of stumbling. If nothing else, let’s stumble forward. But better yet, let’s figure out how to allow God to keep us from stumbling as we contend for the faith!
There are a lot of destructive worldviews and belief systems out there trying to absorb the church into their always reaching tentacles. And as we have seen there are those within the church who are forging their passports to appear as saints and sidetrack the church from fulfilling her calling.
Ultimately of course, we are also promised that Jesus will make us stand before Him blameless and with great joy! And that has all to do with His glorious grace. But in the meantime, He can also make us stand for Him successfully or contend for Him successfully. And that is in part by His grace and in part by our cooperation through our will and even the fruit of self-control.
Remember that the anger of man does NOT produce the righteousness of God (Jas. 1:20). When we get angry AT people, we cannot win those same people. We must be self-controlled enough to direct any anger at the true enemy, the god of this world – satan (2 Cor. 4:4). He is the author of chaos. His tricks and weaponry include confusion, distraction, misdirection, deception, irritation, lying and cheating. He is the ruler of the world forces of this darkness that surrounds us (Eph. 6:12). This is how the enemy fights. Maybe we need to take our gloves off and get in the ring to fight by trusting God and relying on the way of the cross and not on our ways. In doing this we put ourselves in position to be kept from stumbling – and also in position for some spiritual victories!
In what ways have you experienced ‘winning’ though spiritual tactics rather than getting frustrated with the person you were trying to win?
How do we direct our anger at the true enemy?
Can you name some examples where this kind of contending is needed right now in your life?
How do we have to lay down old ways of contending and pick up new ways, ways that align with what the struggle really is?