I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Are You A Contender or Pretender?

Jude 3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

I believe every person in the church today falls into one of two categories: pretenders or contenders. Think about it- you’re either living a victorious life, satisfied in Jesus Christ with a concern for others- or you’re pretending like you are.

How do I know this? Personal experience. I grew up in a Christian home where we went
to church often. My parents loved the Lord, but were both shy people and didn’t get
involved much. Us kids, however, loved activities and were involved with everything. By the time I was seven I had made a profession of faith; I had prayed for Jesus to come into my heart.

Sounds good so far, right? Wrong! Problem is, I had failed to repent of my sin. From this point through the next twenty years, I became a faithful “pretender of the faith”. I had a hollow religion full of empty, unkept promises to pray, reading my Bible sporadically at best, and not really getting what it was all about.

Fact is, I thought I was a contender. I really thought everyone’s relationship with God was a shallow act to save face, and that we just didn’t admit it to each other. After all, everyone knows it’s better to act like you get it even though you don’t, right? Who wants to be the only one asking ‘what do you mean?’ We all know the true contenders (Heb. 11) and want to be one.

Truth is, I was dying to share with someone that I felt like I was walking down the wrong side of the hallway, that I was drowning in spiritual lies, I was dying to be free, but simply refused to yell for help. I was drowning in a sea of pride, and the only person who could save me was me, and I didn’t want to really see what I was, or what I’d let myself become.

I Tim, 1:5-7 "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."

See, for pretenders, it’s all about doing just enough in public to get by, and in private, well, just not spending a lot of time alone- so you don’t have to think about it. When you’re alone is when you hear the still, small, convicting voice of God.

There are two categories of pretenders: The first being those who are saved but spiritually dead:

Lk. 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

-Not rooted in God’s Word
-Easily pulled away
-Easily offended when reproved

The second includes those who were never in the fold.

Mat 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name
done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I was one of those.

It’s not enough to say that you’re doing something, or make a claim that you are something. Yes, I admit it’s very easy to fool most people. But God is not most people. He can’t be fooled by you even when you’ve fooled yourself.

II Tim. 2:19 "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

He knows the whole ugly truth. And He loves you anyway! He desperately wants you to make it right! Jesus Christ is not a pretender. He means what He says, and keeps His promises. Every single one.

II Pet. 3:9 "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."

So I urge you to examine yourself. Are you a pretender of the faith, or a contender for the faith? The choice is yours alone. Jesus calls all men to repentance. It doesn’t matter if you’re facing a lifetime of sin you need to forsake and trust Jesus to save you from, or if you’ve thrown yourself into the sea of delusion and need Jesus to restore you to the land of the spiritually living. He’s ready and waiting no matter what your need. Cry out to Him. He will hear and bring you into the fold.

I Jn. 1:6-10 "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but if you’re a pretender, I can tell you that your grass is brown and withered, and there’s worms eating the decay. Jump the fence while there’s still time to get right, and don’t look back. You won’t be sorry. Truly contending for the faith will keep you so satisfied that eventually you’ll forget there’s even a fence.

Ps. 27:4 "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple."


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