Contending & Self Talk

Sometimes in the course of life, a word drops into my spirit. If I didn’t know any better, I would say it came from out of nowhere – but I know better. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit gently nudging me into a revelation. I have learned over the years to not ignore these subtle prompts, as they inevitably lead me to a deeper understanding of what He is wanting to accomplish in and through me.
It seems that much of my communication with God lately ends up with me in tears. Sometimes they are accompanied by the overwhelming sense of His presence and love for me (which I still cannot and probably will never come anywhere near comprehending). More often than not though, lately the accompanying cry of my heart sounds something like this: “I don’t understand. I don’t understand why everything has to be such a struggle. All I have ever wanted is to love You and serve You and walk in the center of Your will. Why is it always such a struggle just to make ends meet? How can this be Your will for Your children? Am I missing something?”
Tonight, as I prayed for David and about our situation in general, I heard the word “contend” being deposited into my spirit. I knew the general idea behind the meaning of the word, but here is what I found when I looked it up:

con·tend [kuh n-tendverb

1. To struggle in opposition: to contend with the enemy for control
2. To strive in rivalry; compete: to contend for first prize
3. To strive in debate; dispute earnestly: to contend against falsehood
Origin: 1400-50 late Middle English contenden < Anglo-French contendre < Latin contendere to compete, strive,  draw tight; equivalent to con (con) + tendere (to stretch)
I was immediately struck by the realization that all three meanings have a clear application in the walk of the believer. 
1. To struggle in opposition with the enemy for control 
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:12-13
2. To strive in rivalry (compete) for first prize
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”  1 Corinthians 9:24-25
3. To strive in debate (dispute earnestly) against falsehood
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32
Even in the word’s earliest origins, it meant to stretch or draw tight. As we reach what feels like the breaking point, where we don’t think or feel like we can take another minute of our current situation, the Holy Spirit gently prods, “Contend.” 
The last dime has been spent and the pantry and refrigerator are near empty, “Contend.”

Bills are due and past due and there is no money to pay them. “Contend.”

Physical strength wanes and sickness sets in. There is no money for medicine. “Contend.”

Fill in the blank with the circumstance that makes every attempt to steal your hope, your joy, your peace. “Contend.”
Sometimes we have to talk ourselves into continuing on – into not giving up. It worked for King David. He asked himself why he was so downcast and commanded himself to put his hope in God. Following the example of one whom God Himself called a man after His own heart, I will now excuse myself to engage in a little Psalm 42-43 style conversation with myself.
And contend.

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One Response to Contending & Self Talk

  1. loudtype says:

    oh how i needed this