If ever we are tempted to think that the Christian life is passive, consider these verses which demonstrate there is a struggle, and it. is. real.
Reading through the Letters of the New Testament, there is certainly a thread of struggle and contending we see at work by one Christian on behalf of others–not to mention the individual working out of our own salvation. Often the writer is a spiritual father contending for the upward growth of younger converts: including but not limited to protection from false teaching, prayers against the work of the Enemy, and admonishments against sin. This contending spirit can just as easily be applied to a mother or grandmother for her children or to any woman investing in others through Christ. The Apostle Paul is an incredible example of contending for and protecting the faith of others. Consider these verses in that vein. Emphases added, ESV.
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 2 Timothy 1:3
For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each of you and encouraged you, and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom that we may present everyone mature in Christ. Colossians 1:28
For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:29
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face. Colossians 2:1
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:10
I am thankful for pastors who continue to do this in our day. May God never leave us without them!
Here is a quote from JC Ryle. He was speaking of his contemporary, Charles Spurgeon. Both were 1800-England preachers whose ministries are still making an impact today.
“I have often thought that one great secret of the marvelous honor which God has put on a man who is not in our denomination (I allude to Mr. Charles Spurgeon) is the extraordinary boldness and confidence with which he stands up in the pulpit to speak to people about their sins and their souls. It cannot be said he does it from fear of any, or to please any.
“He seems to give every class of hearers its portion — to the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the king and the peasant, the learned and the illiterate. He gives to everyone the plain message, according to God’s Word. I believe that very boldness has much to do with the success which God is pleased to give to his ministry. Let us not be ashamed to learn a lesson from him in this respect. Let us go and do likewise.” ~ J.C. Ryle
In Christ’s love, Erika