They stood in between two mountains, waiting the inevitable battle. Three hundred of the worlds great warriors, fully dressed in armor, swords drawn and minds made up. With others of the Greek army, these Spartans, remembered simply as “The 300”, made a last stand, fighting to the death with a firm purpose and determination that would not waver. The three day battle took place on two fronts and left 4,000 Greeks and nearly 20,000 Persians dead. The Battle of Thermopylae will go down in history as one of the greatest acts of valor by a king and his trained soldiers. These men had an undying resolve from which every Christians should learn many lessons.
The word Contend means to “engage in a competition or campaign in order to win or achieve”. I believe that teens, youth pastors, and Christians in general are unwilling to contend for the things of God. Through this blog and website, I want to challenge you to become more steadfast and determined in you faith and challenge you to step up, stand up, and speak up for the faith that you have.
As you enter this new year, I want you to establish some goals (spiritual, physical, etc) in your life that you can strive to reach. If you plan for nothing, you’ll accomplish just that – nothing. But once you establish these goals, I want you to become resolved to work at them. There are three things – the ABC’s – that I would like to encourage you to contend for.
1. Your Assurance
If you are saved, you have a great assurance that you can hold onto. The gift of salvation is unlike any other gift that can be received. Just think of the wonderful gifts that inside the gift of salvation: a place in Heaven, the Holy Spirit to guide you and comfort you, Christians friends and leaders to help you, peace with God, and the list could go on.
As you start to think of being Resolved, think of your salvation. Choose to stand on the things you have in the assurance you have. Stand, resolved, on your salvation and the faith that comes with it.
But don’t just stand on this assurance, stand for this assurance. People may ask, “how can you know for sure you are saved and going to Heaven?” Don’t think of this as an attack, but as an opportunity to stand up for the assurance of the amazing salvation that God has blessed you with.
There may be times when you certainly do not feel saved. But God has given the promise that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). He also tells us that the Scriptures were given that we may “know” that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
Start off 2018 with by contending for the assurance of your salvation.
2. Your Bible
God has given us His perfect Word in the King James Bible. I make no apologies for my stance on God’s Word. If you do not agree with me, I do ask that you continue reading and not disregard the thought just because of a difference in opinion.
Too many Christians do not hold a solid position on God’s Word. I firmly believe that, if Christians young and old would read, study, and apply the truths of the Bible, we would see a great change in our families, churches, communities, and our country. However, emphasis has been place on how something makes us feel instead of if God says it’s right or wrong.
There are basic things that are plainly stated in the Bible that are overlooked in Christianity today. Things like, the importance of Bible reading, the need of prayer, the command to tell others about Christ, all go unheeded in modern-day Christianity.
However, I submit that we can change this. The first step is simple: Contend. Determine that you are going to read God’s Word. But don’t stop at just reading. Make a decision to do what It tells you to do. Then finally, once you are reading It and applying what It says, have the extra resolve to stick with it – even when it’s not easy anymore – even when it gets tough and people think you’re just “holier than thou.” You must contend for God’s Word by not wavering on your stand, and also by not bending to the pressure to neglect or ignore the Bible.
Here are just a few of the commands from God’s Word that could be worked on implementing:
Read the Bible: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shall make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
Pray: Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)
Soul winning: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
Holiness: Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:16)
Humility: Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)
There are many more areas I could point out, but you must contend to read, study, and apply God’s Word. Purpose in your life that you will contend for the Bible in this new year.
3. Your Character
Your character is what you are when no one is there to see you. You might ask, Bro. Sam, if no one can see me, why is it so important that I do right? I’m glad you asked. No matter who is physically there to see you, there is One Who always sees. God knows what you do when you’re all alone. He knows what you think in the quiet places of your mind. He knows the desires of the secret room in the deepest part of your heart. Just because no one can see you, doesn’t mean that there isn’t Someone there. Psalm 44:21 says, “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
On top of that, your true character will come out in time. You can hide things from almost anyone – your family, your friends, your church – but only for so long. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 10:9, “…he that perverteth his ways shall be known.” Even though it may be hidden, the truth will come out.
The saying goes:
Watch your thoughts, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
This short saying speaks volume to your character, as it does indeed lead to your destiny. Each thought you have, each action you take, and each habit you create will lead to the character you develop, the destiny you have, and the legacy you leave.
If you, as a Christian, determine now to contend for and preserve you character – no matter your age – you will be amazed at the change it will make in your life. Before each decision, ask, “will this become a habit?”, “will this change my character?”, and “how will this effect my destiny?”
2018 is a new beginning and new start. 2018 needs to be the year that Christians Contend for what’s right. Determine now that you will be resolute in you faith and that you will contend for your Assurance, your Bible, and your Character.