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Standing – Week 18 / April 27th
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore………..”Ephesians 6:13-14
Christians need to learn how to walk, talk and stand. Quite clearly, when Paul refers to standing he is not referring to the physical act of getting up on your two feet! No, he is referring to standing your ground as in a battle or, to put it in modern day terminology, to “holding the line.” This reminds us that we have enemies that are fully intent on our failure, capitulation and destruction. The Christian life is not for sissys or wimps!
Our constant battle is in three areas:
1. Against ourselves
That is, we are aware of a struggle that is unfolding within us as our old carnal nature is at war with the Spirit of God who indwells us. This is a real struggle and Paul writes about it extensively in Romans seven. Also, in Galatians he refers to it again and describes it thus:
“I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:16-17)
Quite obviously then, standing, in this context means learning to walk in the Spirit or learning how to let God have His way in your life! Essentially this in turn means changing your attitude in a way that you obey what God’s word says about you. Obedience is the “switch” that turns on the power of God in your life. Again, Paul says:
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
It remains a sad truth indeed that many Christians cannot stand against themselves!
2. Against the world
By the world we mean the world system built by fallen humanity. This is a real danger for every Christian as what the world offers is instant gratification that is attractive to our carnal natures. The world is a good employer but a very bad paymaster; its wages are misery and destruction. We have to learn to stand against it as it constitutes a serious threat to every child of God and even preachers. As to the latter, Paul writes:
“For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica….” (2 Timothy 4:10)
Both John and James warned about the dangers of the world (1 John2:15-17; James 4:4) and the former reminds us that “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Christians must then stand against the world and this means embarking upon a rich devotional life by which we see the glory of Christ. A glory that surpasses anything that the world may have to offer. When we see this glory, as John did on the isle of Patmos, we recognize that standing against the world is easy because “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)
3. Against the devil
We have a serious enemy who is intent on our destruction and, whether we like it or not, the moment we yielded our lives to Jesus he began plotting against us so that we would not stand. Scripture warns us that the Devil “prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We must therefore be vigilant and watchful because he is determined to knock us off our feet!
It is to this end that Paul gives warning in Ephesians six. We have to stand against the wiles of the Devil and we shall only accomplish this if we adorn ourselves with the full armor of God. This armor, in the final analysis, comes down to knowing the truth about all that Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross. We must understand our right standing with God, we must fill our minds with salvation truth, we must know how to use the Word of God effectively, we must love sharing the Gospel, we must walk by faith and we must constantly search for truth. (Ephesians 6:13-17) Christians that are not equipped in this way will be found wanting as the Devil will certainly find a chink in their armor and fully exploit it. Literally, thousands of Christians have fallen in this way and we should take this call to stand and keep standing very seriously.
In the end Paul calls upon the Ephesian believers to be a people of prayer. (Ephesians 6:18) The lesson is clear; we must have a vital and real relationship with Jesus if we are ever going to stand. Knowing Him and walking with Him every day is crucial to the goal of standing. May this be true of us!
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries