In part one we discussed how contending and the different aspects of such. We identified that there is a lawful way to contend and an unlawful way. We also noticed that contending for our faith and our prayers are considered a good thing, but contending physically against others, even in words is not.
In part two we will focus on defending, as opposed to contending. To defend something is to protect, guard, preserve, shield and safeguard. This is a defender.
One thing that should be popping out at you is the differences between defending and contending. The main difference is ‘offense’ vs ‘defense’, or to offend vs. to defend. As stated in pt1, ‘The servant of the Lord must not contend”. Except for the end goal of proclaiming Messiah. And this even through the power of Messiah living in us. And is done in love, not as in battle, so as to win and destroy your opponent. And in so doing your own soul.
When considering defense in the New Testament writings we have far less to consider. Which can be a good thing, as it makes the subject that much clearer.
Luke 12:11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
When others contend with you and persecute you with words and physical means, we already know from pt1 that we are to not react in like kind, eye for an eye, tooth for tooth. And we know we are not to contend with them.
Here we are told not even to be anxious about how we should defend ourselves or what we should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach us in that very moment what we ought to say. Our defense is to let Him live in and through us. And even He will not contend with them through us, but speak Truth that surpasses all understanding through us by the power of His Spirit living in us. He defends us.
Luke21:12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them.
14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
We will be contended with. They will strive and struggle to maintain their assertions against us, against Messiah. This will result in our being witness to them, about Messiah. But we are to make up our mind not to worry beforehand how we will defend ourselves. Because God will give us words and wisdom that none of them will be able to resist or contradict. Not honestly anyway. And again, He defends us through his Living Word that dwells within us. We are not to worry, strive, or struggle to maintain our assertions about Messiah Yeshua. We are to understand that the Spirit dwelling in us will give us words and wisdom that surpasses all knowledge.
2 Cor 6:6 We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, 7 by speaking the truth, and by God’s power. We use our right living to defend ourselves against everything.
By God’s power we speak the truth, in love, through the Holy Spirit, in kindness, patience, and understanding, we show we are servants of God. We use our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth, and by God’s power to defend ourselves against everything. We defend ourselves against everything by our pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth and by God’s power.
We defend ourselves against everything by the power of God living in us through the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 1:15 Some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16 They preach because they love me, for they know the Lord brought me here to defend the Good News. 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.
Some (many today) are unlawfully contending as they preach. Yet others defend the good news of the gospel. We preach (defend) because we love those who came before us, who firmly defended and established the gospel. Others contend with us, intending to make our earthly chains more painful.
1 Peter3:12 The Lord’s eyes are on those who do what he approves. His ears hear their prayer. The Lord confronts those who do evil.” 13 Who will harm you if you are devoted to doing what is good?14 But even if you suffer for doing what God approves, you are blessed. Don’t be afraid of those who want to harm you. Don’t get upset.
15 But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence [in God] when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect. 16 Keep your conscience clear. Then those who treat the good Christian life you live with contempt will feel ashamed that they have ridiculed you.
“The servant of the Lord must not contend” If you do not contend eye to eye with the contenders the Lord approves. And if we suffer for not contending with those who contend with us, we are blessed. We should not be afraid of them, nor get upset. But as servants dedicated to living for Messiah as Lord we should always be ready to defend our faith. But, we need to defend it with gentleness and respect. Keeping us clean, in Messiah. Then when they contend in contempt against our defense they will feel ashamed that they have unlawfully contended against us.
Jude 1:3 Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News. God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to his holy people.
We are to defend the truth ‘of the good news’. Not contend for the truth of the gospel. And our defense is the Lord living within us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Jewish adventures in the diaspora.
Scripture, ethics and spiritual formation