How do you respond when someone mocks your faith? Even if its just something subtle. Do you simply shrug it off and think “Oh well, I guess he’s going to hell”? Or do you confront them?
This is not a time to be passive. I’ll admit, I’m not the type of person that likes conflict. But when it comes to defending truth, we need to speak up and defend it. We need to take action. If you don’t believe me, just read Matthew 21 where Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple. Or read Jude 3: ….I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” The word contend means “to fight” or “to struggle” intensely. The Greek athletes used this verb to express how they would exert themselves to the point of agony in an effort to win the contest. That is the level of intensity with which we need to defend God’s Truth.
We cannot contend for that which we do not love. People are willing to fight and die for that which they love. Americans march off to war because of their love of liberty. Many of the early Christians were willing to be tortured and die as martyrs because of their beliefs. I would die for my wife and kids because I love them. So the first step in contending for the truth is to develop that kind of love for God’s Word.
We must speak the truth in love. It’s important to add that while we are contending for the faith, we must not be contentious as Paul warns us about in Ephesians 4:15. We will fail to contend for the faith if we have a bitter, hateful, or arrogant spirit. Unfortunately there are many of us Christians who speak the truth, but not in love. This is sometimes where we confuse boldness with harshness. Boldness is the willingness to say what people need to hear even though its painful. Harshness, on the other hand, has little to do with conviction or concern for people.
We must know the faith. Has anyone ever asked you to look up a verse in the book of Hezekiah? You flip through your Bible only to find out that it doesn’t exist. That’s a little embarrassing because it shows how little you know God’s Word. I Peter 3:15 tells us that we need to always be ready to give an answer. Think of a defense attorney preparing for his final presentation in court. Each day he will work painstakingly into the night. Every word, every expression is carefully measured. He analyzes every possible scenario knowing that the fate of his client is in his hand.
That my friends, is the level of preparation and knowledge of God’s Word that we need to have. And when someone ridicules the Truth or even when asked why we choose to live our lives this way, we need to be ready with an answer. Just like that defense attorney is ready to stand before the court.
Your answer could be the difference between life and death for the inquisitor!