I am exceedingly blessed y’all, to have experienced some struggles in life, and to have the kind of personality that insists of knowing the “why” behind everything. I have to brag in the Lord here, because it wasn’t always so! I was not always so cheerful about the struggle and I seriously thought there was something wrong with me because I had so many questions. I can’t just “believe” in something, I have to know “why” I believe. It turns out that’s not a character defect, that’s a really good thing.
I write a lot about discerning the truth behind culture, politics, faith, and “neo-science,” Registered Trademark. When it comes to faith, I often call it “arguing with God” but you could call it “wrestling” or as it says in Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.“
The formal word for all that is “contend,” as in contend for the faith. Contend means to, “struggle to surmount,” or to, “engage in a competition or campaign in order to win,” or to, “assert something as a position in an argument.” I like to call that teasing it out, because it reminds me of my hair when it is all frazzled.
Anyway, this week I have just been kind of overwhelmed by the culture where superficial labels and beliefs are just all the rage. As in, I’ve talked to a couple of real live communists, who proudly wear that label and yet have absolutely no idea what they even believe. Like, you guys have never even tried to contend for communism, you’ve just jacked the uniform because you thought it looked cool! I hope that doesn’t sound needlessly harsh, I’m really not trying to mock anybody here. I’m just trying to point out that as culture at large we seem to have really skipped an important and vital step in the process of reaching a sound conclusion.
Shoot, I even talked to an Antifa kid who is farther right than I am and gave me a bit of a headache. The guy was so ultra conservative, I found myself taking on the role of genuine bleeding heart just to try to provide some balance. We really do live in a funhouse hall of mirrors, I’m telling you. The guy was like, we should have unlimited freedom, by extremely totalitarian mandates if necessary. Like, Dude!
No arguments, I’m often just a good listener and completely uninterested in saving the world anymore so these were peaceful chats. I’m just saying, I’m really having trouble trying to relate to people who have a hill they are passionately willing to die on…..they just have no idea what hill they are even standing on. Aye yi yi.
You can get away with that kind of thing in a lot of areas in life, politics, team sports, culinary arts, but when it comes to faith it just doesn’t work. Christianity is not a brand, it is not a team you can just align yourself with, and it is not simply an ideology you can quote by rote like a recipe. You can do that for a while but when the poo hits the fan or you are squeezed in a winepress, you really need to know what you believe and why.
If you believe in the Lord and are saved, you are justified, that part of the work has been done for you, it is a free gift. But if you wish to grow and prosper, find rest for your soul, develop strength and intimacy with the Lord, reap some spiritual fruit, get a bit of heaven into you, you are going to need to contend for the faith.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Jesus didn’t die just to get you into heaven, He died to get a bit of heaven into you.”
A bit of heaven on Earth is available to us, but only if we are willing to contend.