One Thing Every Believer Should Contend for and Why It Matters

Black lady set to run on the track

– by Magdalene Victor.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a friend of my aunt who was in her mid-40s but had lied that she was 29, so she could land a part-time job. I remember respectfully telling her that her actions were wrong and against the principles of Christ.

She wasn’t pleased with my boldness in challenging her. In response, she dismissed me, claiming I was too young to grasp the complexities of life. She insisted that as I grew, I would also compromise my principles. Keep in mind that I was only 26 years old at the time. However, I stood my ground, assuring her that I wouldn’t abandon my beliefs and God’s teachings for the sake of selfish or trivial things.

Looking back on that incident, I can say that I was contending for the faith by gently pointing out this lady’s wrong actions and sticking to the truth of scripture, even when she mocked me.

What does it mean to ‘contend for the faith?’

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord [b]God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:3-4 (NKJV)

In the verses above, Jude urged the early church to contend earnestly for the faith. The Greek word translated, “contend” is the verb epagōnizesthai, which means “to struggle for.” Similarly, in English, the word “contend means “to strive or vie in contest or rivalry or against difficulties: Struggle; to strive in debate: Argue; to Maintain/asset; to struggle for: Contest.”

This means that by telling believers to ‘contend for the faith,’ Jude was asking us to be willing to strive for the faith as if in a contest, struggle against the difficulties that crop up in our walk of faith, and take a stand for the faith.

Why believers need to contend for the faith

In Colossians 1:28-29 (NIV), Paul, speaking about the effort he put into preaching the gospel of Christ, said:

28He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

Verse 29 reveals that although Christ was the one working in the Apostle Paul, he had to strenuously contend to see people saved.

Considering that we all as believers are called by God to ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:19-20), Apostle Paul’s statement, therefore, points to the fact that each of us must be ready to strenuously contend to fulfil our ultimate purpose as believers (Mark 16:15-18; Acts 1:8).

Additionally, we must understand that we’re in a battle against an enemy who’s trying to steal our faith (John 10:10). This same enemy who deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:13) uses modern-day ideologies and even close relatives/friends to attack, undermine, and erode our faith (Col 2:8-9).

He constantly tempts us to doubt God’s word, hoping that we will disregard it and eventually disobey God. We must guard our hearts and stay spiritually alert to avoid falling for satan’s deceitful schemes (Prov 4:23; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

Lady holding up her trophy

How do believers contend for the faith?

To ‘contend for/take a stand for’ the faith, we must:

  1. Study God’s word (Matt 6:33; 1 Peter 2:2),
  2. Obey it (John 14:15; James 2:14-26),
  3. Preach the gospel to all men (Matt 28:19-20), and
  4. Be willing to stand up for the truth of God’s word, even in the face of opposition and rejection (2 Cor 11:24-28; Matt 5:11).

We cannot stand up for a faith we do not know or are not convinced about.

We cannot contend for a faith that we are not obedient to in our daily lives. Nor can we stand up for or defend a faith whose importance we do not understand.

God is counting on us to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to His people (Jude 1:3). This faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4), the shield that protects us from all the fiery darts of the enemy (Eph 6:16), one of God’s greatest gifts (1 Cor 13:13), and the only means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God (Eph 2:8-9).

The eternal destiny of men’s souls is tied to our willingness to strive with athletic commitment, contending for the faith as we preach the gospel. We must not become lazy, or distracted by the demands of life, the allures of sin, or persecution from sinners.


Leave a Comment