The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Endeavoring and Contending"
"The face of Christ must shine through us as we proclaim the facts of Christ."
How do we "earnestly contend for the faith," while also "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" within the body of Christ? (Jude 1:3; Ephesians 4:3).
In days of so much access to the thoughts of professing believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we find ourselves perhaps more challenged by the question than ever before. A notion, either true or false, can be instantly communicated to millions of people in little more than a nanosecond. Great benefit and dire harm proceed from what can only be viewed as the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy that a time would come when, in exponential terms, "knowledge shall be increased" (Daniel 12:4). Herein lies one primary answer to how we respond to times such as these.
"Knowledge puffeth up, but charity (love) edifieth" (I Corinthians 8:1). Incoming information to our hearts and minds should greatly humble us, especially God's truth. This it does as we rightly receive the infusion of His glorious light in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the flesh of even the most devoted believer remains susceptible to being puffed up with pride and self importance when we think we know something. We can respond to truth in a manner that results in a selfish rather than edifying response. God's light properly received through the living Word, Christ, and His written Word, the Bible, will always result in both humility and conviction. Thereby, the Holy Spirit will lead us to "earnestly contend for the faith" in a manner that also results in our "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Much of this will involve the motive, demeanor, and attitude in our endeavoring and contending. With God, how and why we do matters as much as what we do (I Corinthians 13). We seek to effectually communicate our Lord's truth by the character of His Person revealed in us no less than the content of His truth revealed through us. The face of Christ must shine through us as we proclaim the facts of Christ. In no manner does this preclude honest and forthright communication of the truth as we understand it. It does, however, forbid fleshly motives whereby we may misrepresent the Lord Jesus in terms of His Person, even as we may correctly communicate His truth in terms of principle. "Speaking the truth in love" guided the Apostle Paul, as it must guide us in our devotion to our Lord and the people with whom we seek to share both Him and His truth (Ephesians 4:15).
Only the Holy Spirit can enable our devotion to both truth and unity. If division happens, which it sometimes does when God's light shines among us, it must not occur because of how we communicated His Word. We ourselves must not cause the division by carnal attitudes and demeanor. The truth alone must divide, even as we earnestly hope it will bring unity. Paul, a man of the utmost devotion to God's Word and the bold determination to share it, well knew that a genuine contending for the faith will always be accompanied by sincere devotion to keeping the unity of the Spirit among us. We close with one of the Apostle's - or rather the Holy Spirit's - most vital admonitions found in the Scriptures we seek to proclaim…
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
(II Timothy 2:24-26)
Weekly Memory Verse
"Knowledge puffeth up, but charity (love) edifieth."
(I Corinthians 8:1)