What does it mean to faithfully lead our children and teens into a life of discipleship? And what does that mean in a world (and church?) filled with competing cultural voices which call them to “come and follow” on roads that lead anywhere and everywhere but to a life of true Christian discipleship?
Over the weekend I read some challenging words from Matthias Lohmann in the July 2023 edition of Ligonier Ministries’ monthly Tabletalk devotional. Because we live in a day-and-age where there is more of the world-in-the-church than the-church-in-the-world, I found Lohmann’s words to be personally challenging as I think about my calling as a parent, grandparent, and someone involved in ministry. Lohmann reminds us that there are leaders among us who not only live ungodly lives, but who teach false doctrine. That’s not who I want to be, nor is that who I should be. Lohmann looks to Jude 3 in ways that I found not only personally challenging regarding my own ministry commitments and faithfulness, but for all of us who have been called to lead and nurture our vulnerable children and teens.
I encourage you to read Lohmann’s short challenge (see below), remembering that to “contend” for the faith means to ensure that the Christian faith’s priorities and principles are something that we grasp with a kind of death grip. It’s a grip that is committed to never letting go. It means to struggle for, maintain, hold to, profess, affirm, argue, strive for, and profess. You see, as we grasp these priorities and principles, God will work in ways that lead these priorities and principles to grasp us!
Here’s what Lohmann writes. . .
Some Christians are contentious. They are quick to quarrel over anything. This is not pleasing to the Lord. We are called to strive for peace with everyone (Heb. 12:14), and within the church we should be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). Many well-meaning Christians assume, therefore, that Christians should never contend for anything.
And yet, while we should not be quarrelsome (Rom. 14:1; 2 Tim. 2:14, 23–24; James 4:2), Holy Scripture calls us to contend for the faith. In his often-overlooked letter, Jude, the half-brother of our Lord, issues the following battle cry: “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). In the next verse, Jude informs his readers why he found it “necessary” to appeal to them to contend for the faith: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (v. 4). Keep reading here. . .