Earlier this week, I had been dealing with some thoughts the devil was throwing at me, when I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon my heart the necessity for me to contend for the truth. I liked the sound of the phrase – it kind of rolls of the tongue quite elegantly. But soon, I began to meditate on those very words and found myself awakened and challenged by what they implied. I think there are countless sayings, whose powerful and life-changing impacts we forfeit, simply because we only say them, without really taking the time to meditate and understand what they actually mean.
So what does it mean to contend for the truth? I believe it can be understood in numerous ways. For one, it can be used to describe the pursuit of truth. In my case, however, its meaning was slightly different. God was not speaking to me pursue the knowledge of truth, but to contend or fight for the truth that I already had known.
…fight for the truth I already had known.
I make a very intentional distinction between pursuit for the acquisition of truth and the fight to preserve the truth that we already know and this here is why – speaking for myself, I can say that there are times when I am tempted to believe that I can reap all of the benefits – i.e. the life changing power– of a truth by simply coming into contact with it. In other words, I feel tempted to believe that the one moment I come to know a certain truth, is enough to guarantee the fulfillment of the things it speaks of in my life…once and for all. But this is not so.
I will be first on the line to tell you “knowing” is seldom enough. As a matter of fact, the familiarity we typically term as “knowledge” doesn’t truly constitute true knowledge at all. True knowledge is more than a one-time deal. It is an on-going fight to preserve what you have known. You never take one breath in the morning and call it enough for the day…do you? You don’t…because that would be foolish. The same concept holds for the knowledge of truth – you must constantly contend for the truth that you have known. And here is why we must contend for the truth…because there already exists contention that has already risen against us. You and I are caught in the middle of a fight that we never picked. It’s a fight purposed for our destruction by means of robbing us of the truths we know. The bible speaks of its weapons as “imaginations”, “thoughts” and “pretense arguments”…all wielded by a very patient opponent that does not mind inconveniencing himself…staking-out for as long as it may take him to get our attention. His goal, once he has our attention is to make us delusional, forgetting and forfeiting the truths we once had known.
…caught in the middle of a fight that we never picked.
The devil is obsessed with attacking truth or in the way Paul puts it, “the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:4). Why? Because it is truth that empowers us to walk powerfully as we should as the sons and daughters of God. I cannot stress that enough. Can I be honest with you? It is not more of the Holy Spirit that will cause you to walk powerfully…rather it is a steeper inclination of your attention to what The Holy Spirit is saying that will! The Holy Spirit is our source of power – but He empowers us by teaching us truth! He is, after all, “The Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13)!
It is not more of the Holy Spirit that will cause you powerfully…it is a steeper inclination of your attention to what The Holy Spirit is saying that will.
Jesus promised that when The Holy Spirit comes, that He would lead us “into all truth”. And here’s the thing, you and I have followed The Holy Spirit into a grand mansion of Truth…but sometimes, as we’re strolling with Him inside, we hear noise outside and we pause to listen…and just out of curiosity we put our ears against to the walls to make out what the noise is all about…and hearing our names mentioned somewhere in the noise…we take a few steps back to the entrance of this great mansion into which we had followed The Holy Spirit, to be met by a liar making mockery of Truth.
The fault was in that we stopped to listen. But I would like to challenge you just as I have been challenged…from here on out, no matter what noise we may hear from outside, or whatever obscene and threatening gestures may be thrown at us through the windows, let us pause instead to reminisce and rejoice upon the wonderful truths The Holy Spirit has made known to us…proving through our confident joy to our enemy that, his hopes against us, for the lack of a better word, are hopeless. This is how we contend for the truth…by meditating and delighting in truth. Psalm 119:23. Isa 26:3. Psalm 1:2.