paul m hanssen
CONTEND FOR THE FAITH - by Gwen D Hanssen
CONTEND FOR THE FAITH – by: Gwen D Hanssen
“….that you should earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
The Epistle of Jude is a powerful little portion of scripture, containing only one chapter. It was written by Jude, Jesus’ brother, and admonished believers to ‘contend for the faith’. He urged them to contend for the faith because there were people within the Christian community who were not true Christians who had slipped in among them unnoticed. He warned that these were ungodly men who had turned the Grace of God into lasciviousness (uncontrollable lust/following one’s own desires). They were complainers and faultfinders. In verse ten, Jude further warns that these people who had slipped in among them were slanderers because they were ignorant and lacked understanding. Then in verse nineteen, he further warns that these ungodly men were at work to cause division between the brethren. (I am paraphrasing here and using modern day English to give a clearer understanding of the warning given.)
Obviously, Jude was sounding quite a powerful alarm. He did not in any way mince words when he warned the ‘sanctified saints’ to whom he addressed his epistle. The word ‘contend’ comes from a Greek root word which means to struggle, to compete for a prize, to fight, to labor, and to fervently strive to obtain something. Well now, isn’t that a powerful little tidbit? There are many today who believe that we are not in a vicious war for our very souls in these last days. Does Jude’s admonition not tell us to fight and to struggle or should we just ignore this portion of scripture and say, “Oh no, I’m all good, I’m saved, now I can just lean back on my thumbs and rely on God’s Grace to do it all.” Quite the contrary! Jude cautions the believer that there are men among us who proclaim the Name of Jesus whilst turning God’s marvelous and most powerful Grace into an excuse to live to their own fleshly lusts and desires. We are warned that they will be interwoven with true believers and will mock, scorn, find fault and do whatever they can to veer us away from Truth. Believe me when I tell you that this is happening right before our very eyes! In my entire life, I have never seen such a day when Truth and those who stand for Truth are being ripped to shreds by these ‘men who have crept in amongst them unawares’ (verse 4) or in modern day English crept in among them unnoticed.
When we no longer contend or strive for our faith, we are then lullabied to sleep. I would admonish you to not only strive and contend for your faith, the faith that our forefathers paid a great price for, but to also strive on a more personal level. Strive to know why you believe what you believe, labor in the scriptures to know and understand on a deeper level the sacred things of God, struggle to know, fight to know, ask God for discernment and for spiritual eyes to see. Don’t just be like the people that Jude spoke about who ‘slander because they do not understand’. Seek. Set your course to know and be willing to lay down your ‘self-life’ when He shows you.
If we do not get very serious about our striving, struggling and laboring, we may find ourselves sucked into what I call an ‘end-time deception vortex’ where wrong looks right, and right looks wrong. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20). Are we not seeing this happen right before our very eyes? The sad part is that those who become sucked into this deception literally think that they are right and all of those who are pressing on in Truth are wrong. It is absolutely BIZARRE to watch.
Jesus said, “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)
Time is short. Do you sense the urgency, are you being called to go deeper in your relationship with God? Are you finding yourself cut off from those whom you have walked with year after year because they may not want what you want or see what you see? Or do you just find yourself not satisfied with the mediocrity of today’s Christianity? Then, I would admonish you to put your running shoes on and start pressing, contending, and competing for the Prize. It may just be that you have been called from before Time even began to be an ‘eleventh-hour worker’ (See Matthew 20: 1-16; The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard).
We are in the eleventh hour, the final hour of time, as it were, and the Word tells us that there will be eleventh-hour workers who will come from behind, per se, and run so fast, so hard, and with such speed that they will receive the same Prize as those of us who have labored for years.
Careful now! Watch out! We’ve got some eleventh-hour workers entering the race who may just take our seats if we are not careful to keep striving, fighting, struggling, laboring and competing for the Prize!
My face is like flint, I’ve got my eye on the Prize, so you can’t have my seat! ;) But I will be more than happy to join arms with any God-ordained eleventh-hour worker who is beginning to gain speed as we all press towards the mark together and ultimately bust through that coveted finish line. It won’t be long and the struggle, striving, fight, scoffing, mocking and all that Jude described during this intense day of apostasy that we find ourselves in will be over. It will be WORTH IT ALL when we see the face of our beloved Bridegroom, Jesus!
“For the LORD God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” (Isaiah 50:7)
Set your face like flint, dear called and chosen ones-LET’S RUN!!
-Gwen D Hanssen-