Contending Against the Wrong Opponent
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.
When we think of contending for the faith, many often think that we must contend against others. Many needless battles are fought in Christianity because of personality, but contending for the faith was never about fighting against personalities but about fighting for the faith. Yes, personalities are the ones who try to destroy the faith, but personalities are not the focus; the faith is the focus.
The word contend means to compete. In other words, I am competing for the faith. When you contend for something, it is never about the individual, but for the cause. For instance, when I played sports in high school, we contended against other teams, but we were trying to win for our school. If I won, my whole team won. It was not about me getting the glory, but it was about the whole team getting a win FOR OUR SCHOOL. Likewise, contending for the faith is all about the whole team of our local church winning, and when the church wins the faith also wins.
My friend, to contend for the faith does not mean that my opponent is another church; contending for the faith means I am competing for the faith. There is only one opponent to the faith, and that is Satan; therefore, my opponent is Satan and not other churches or Christians. Certainly, he may use other churches or Christians to try to stop us from what we are doing for the faith, but my focus must be on what I am contending for, which is the faith.
I want you to notice that contending for the faith is more of an offensive position than a defensive one. In other words, when I contend for the faith, I am doing what it takes for the faith to win. So, what does it take for the faith to win? It takes souls being saved, churches being built, lives being changed from sin to holiness, and truth being proclaimed. I am contending for the faith every time I lead someone to Christ, and the faith gets another victory against Satan. Every time I get another individual or family to come help me fill the church, the faith gets another victory. You must understand that to contend for the faith is offensive instead of defensive. Contending for the faith is moving forward and not being stationary. You will never contend for the faith by holding on, but you contend for the faith by moving forward to doing more than what you are doing right now.
I have found the best way to contend for the faith is to compete against myself and not against others. Let me explain. I contend for the faith by looking at what I am doing for Christ and not what others are doing for Christ. In other words, it is not about me being better than another church or believer; it is about continually beating what I have done for the faith. If I compete against myself, I never make another person or church an opponent. By doing this, I can rejoice with others churches or individuals when they have a victory.
My friend, stop worrying about how you stack up to other churches or Christians and compete against yourself for the faith. Our focus ought to be the faith and letting it win. Contending for the faith is not about me outdoing another Christian or church, but about me furthering the cause of the faith. When we make the faith the focus for which we contend, we will make a difference in our world when the faith is furthered.