If you ever get an email from me, at the end of every email I conclude with the tag “Earnestly contending for the faith”. I have used this tag for some time now.
Last night Dawna and I were talking about what this really means. The full verse is from Jude 1:3 and reads as follows:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3 KJB
Let’s examine this a bit closer. What does this really mean?
One way we can look at this verse is that the author is talking about something that happened in the past. The “faith” talked about was given to a group of people at some time in the distant past, and they should “earnestly contend” for that “faith.”
This leads me to question; what does it mean to “earnestly contend”? Could there be more to this statement than some past instruction that has nothing to do with me?
Webster’s dictionary definitions:
1. 1 : a serious and intent mental state
2. 2 : a considerable or impressive degree or amount
1. to argue or state (something) in a strong and definite way
2. to compete with someone or for something : to compete with a good chance of winning
So, to restate this would look something like this: To SERIOUSLY, INTENSIVELY, and IMPRESSIVELY, ARGUE for or COMPETE with a good chance of winning, for the faith.
In light of the past tense answer, the author is simply stating they should hold on and fight for the faith that they have already learned.
Last night during our discussion, I was impressed to believe there is further application to this verse. If I know that God is the Author and Perfecter of my faith (Heb 12:2), then does this help me further understand the meaning behind “earnestly contending for the faith”.
As I grow and mature in God, He teaches me new and wonderful things. He brings me into a higher knowledge of Him and helps me apply what he is showing me. Here is an example:
This week, God has been teaching me what it really means that His Divinity has merged with my humanity. Now, my mind can’t really grasp this through logical thought processes, but I have come to believe this through study of His word. This “faith” has been delivered to me. Now what do I do with this knowledge?
I SERIOUSLY, INTENSIVELY, and IMPRESSIVELY, ARGUE for and COMPETE, with a good chance of winning, for this faith that God, the Author and Perfecter of this faith, has given me.
I don’t let go, I keep feeding that faith He gave me……I “earnestly contend” for it. I contend for that faith to the point that it will never be taken from me. I roll up my sleeves and fight for it. When I get to the end of that fight, no matter how beat up I may be, the “faith” He gave me will remain.
God said it, I believe it, that settles it.
When was the last time you “earnestly contended”?
Earnestly contending for the faith,
PS. The picture at the top is a snapshot I took while driving down a country road near Mount Princeton in Colorado last fall.