Friday, November 6, 2015

The Lizard Who Didn't Want to Go, and Contending Earnestly for the Faith.

The baby lizard considering freedom.

I don’t know how he came in. He might have been exploring a tiny little crack-tunnel somewhere and explored until he found himself inside. He might have come through the doggie door. He might even have ridden in on my shoulder or sneaked in when we opened the door. His little lizard lips were sealed.

He was sunning on the window when I spotted him. I promptly advised him baby lizards belong OUTSIDE. His little lizard ears were equally sealed.

Whether he wanted to go or not, I knew the best place for him was outside.  My hands were no match for the squirmy reptile, and he promptly jumped to freedom, he thought. I could have chalked it up to teenage rebellion, and just let him figure it out for himself, but knew the outcome, so back in the ring
I went.  This battle was NOT over yet.

It wasn’t a real fight, more of a mutual understanding. I agreed not to hold him, and he agreed to go along for the ride on the chair. Once outside, he reconsidered his original decision and agreed that outside was indeed the best place for a handsome young lizard. What he thought was an adventure of freedom would have been his tomb. Hallelujah! He saw the light!

I have known people like that, maybe you have too. They are headed down a path of adventure and fun that lands them in a place that seems to them like sheer bliss.  The problem with them is the same as that of the lizard. It is actually a prison in which they will eventually die.

Often they don’t realize that truth because they are so enchanted by whatever desire brought them there, that it is very difficult for them to see it on their own. That is where we come in. The book of Jude calls it contending “earnestly for the faith.” The word “contend” (epagonizomai in the Greek) has to do with being a combatant.  (Literally, epi – intensive + agon – contest = intensive contest.) “Fight the good fight” was the instruction Paul gave to Timothy. Both suggest we may have to spend a little time and energy to help people see the truth.

I could have easily just turned my back, left the baby lizard in the sunroom and rationalized “he didn’t want to be picked up” and “let him figure it out.” Instead, with a little effort the little guy understood a better way, ended up in a better place, and avoided a death sentence.

There was a little contention but I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a contender. If we go out of our way to help a lizard, couldn’t we extend a little more effort, contend a little more earnestly for a person? Don’t wake up to the regret that you “could have been a contender!”

Things to consider when contending for the faith –
  • There are many who believe errors. You have probably heard some of them “there is no God” or, “being good will be enough to escape any punishment” or, “everyone who dies goes to heaven” or, “there is no life after this”…on and on.  Many are misled.  Believing it (no matter how earnestly) doesn’t make it true.

  • The only way to know the truth is to study it - the Word of God – the Bible.  We must know the truth before we can accurately share the truth. Study His Word – in its entirety, the whole counsel of God. (Many errors are dispelled when you let Scripture interpret Scripture.)

  • We are required (not suggested) to share that truth. Matthew 28:19,20 lists going, baptizing, and teaching as three parts of the requirement.

  • When we encounter one who is lost he may not want to listen to the truth. He might even jump away and plead to be left alone. Don’t give up.

  • Instead, spend a little effort to try to find some common ground to help them see the truth. Contend earnestly with them with all love and gentleness. They may just see the light for the first time! What a privilege to lead one out of certain death to life eternal!

Dearest Heavenly Father, how precious it is that You love us so much and have given us all we need to have eternal life. How we thank You for giving us our very lives.

Help us be diligent to reach out to share this good news with a world that so desperately needs to hear the truth. Prompt us when we need to contend even more earnestly. Thank You for giving us the wisdom, insight and understanding from Your Holy Spirit to know when and how to best relate this life giving truth.

How about YOU? Did someone contend with you? Are you thankful?
Have you contended for the faith? How did it work out? Was it worth it? I look forward to hearing your story!