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Contending for the Faith (Part 1)


BY PASTOR PHIL

Today we begin a new series titled CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH. This is so important because understanding it will make the difference between living an authentic, Christian life and a life of failure, weakness and defeat.

By way of introduction, I want us to unpack the meaning of CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH. Faith in this context doesn't refer to faith as the currency that we use when we carry out transactions with heaven. Rather, it refers to Christianity as a “faith” — or a religion, according to the worldly definition — just like Islam, Buddhism and or what is commonly defined as the traditional African religion.

The dictionary defines “contend” as “to believe something is a fact or to deal with a challenge.”

It can also be defined as a tussle, a fight or taking a stand for what you believe in. In our context, it’s about taking a stand for the Christian faith as it is espoused in the Bible.

Against these definitions, contending for the faith, in essence, means fighting all those things (thoughts, ideas, perceptions, philosophies and circumstances) that are contrary to the Word of God in your life. These are the weapons that the devil uses to undermine your faith as they can develop into strongholds in your spirit.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV), “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but MIGHTY THROUGH GOD to the pulling down of STRONG HOLDS;) CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ...”

This is going to be our foundational scripture in this series of teachings. The expression “mighty through God” was translated from the original Greek expression, “mighty through the WORD OF GOD.” Remember, in John 1:1, the Bible says “and the Word was God.”

I want you to catch this early on: if you are not sold out to the Word, if you don't fill your heart and your mind with the Word, then you're not going to be able to contend for the faith in your life.

Many of the weapons that the devil uses against us are carnal —meaning that they draw their strength from our flesh (mind) than our spirits. These are often reasonings that question the authenticity of the Word of God. For example, a Christian can live in bondage to fear: afraid of witches, afraid of accidents, sickness or demonic attacks or bad dreams etc.

But because you are now in the faith (i.e you’re a Christian) you must use the Word of God as your weapon against that fear for it gives you the assurance of protection and safety. Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV), “Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The Bible exhorts us to take a stand for the gospel we have received and all that it represents.

Jude 1:3 (KJV), “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 talks of contending earnestly for the faith. In other words you have to strive to ensure that you are so full of the Word in your spirit so that your faith cannot be shipwrecked by your experiences in life.

A key strategy in contending for the Faith is dealing with your mind. Joyce Meyer describes the mind as a battlefield.  It is in the mind that spiritual battles are waged, won or lost. How then do you deal with the mind?

Romans 12:2 (KJV), “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The things you entertain or spend time dwelling on corrupt your mind.


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