“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”! … These are great, strong, powerful, and encouraging words from the Apostle Paul. Words that give us a picture of the courageous Christian, standing his ground for the things he truly believes. Standing firm! Taking a stand! We need those words to characterize the way we should live…believing, standing, uncompromising, immovable, faith. The truth is that the Christian community has, in many ways, staggered and wavered under social pressures and wimpy political pressures and even Pharisaical legalistic interpretations that are the ruthless attempt of Satan to get us to fight life’s battles in our own power and dim the light of the church.
I for one am tired of a handful of atheistic, anti-everything, unbelieving, ignorant people holding our nation in bondage in their attempts to take God out of everything! It’s time that we take a stand!
Given the nature of the many battles we face in life, if we are to be strong it must be in His mighty power, not ours. We are engaged in a constant spiritual battle over values, morals, ethics, and beliefs; and this is on top of all the physical battles, trials, and temptations we face every day.
The Book of Ephesians begins with all the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ, and it ends with this passage about the spiritual battle-field we find ourselves in also because we are in Christ. The message we must understand is that God’s grace is adequate in both times of battle and times of blessing! In fact, it’s the time of blessing that prepares us for the time of battle. It is the times of God’s blessing that He works in us to change our thinking, our hearts – the way we feel about life – and to change our character, which equips us to “stand” as it says in our scripture, during times of spiritual and physical attack, because we will know what it means to “put on the whole armor of God.”
In this scripture the word “stand” is used four times. Sometimes in a crisis situation we shout; “Don’t just stand there, do something!” But, in this particular scripture, Paul is saying that if we know and have the whole armor of God, we don’t have to fight; we need to “stand” in God’s mighty power!
The message is “Be strong in the Lord”, “take a stand, stand your ground, stand firm, and after you have done everything, stand!” One of Satan’s schemes is to make a wrong seem right. For our generation, one of those would be “situational ethics”; There are no absolutes, and values are determined by the situation. Our society has somehow come to believe that our time is different from any other time, therefore the rules must be different and somehow changed to fit today’s world. And, that includes that somehow God’s expectations are also different for us than they were way back when. Listen, have you ever heard the words “I am the Lord Thy God, who changeth not”? Paul encourages us in Romans 12:9 to “hate what is evil and cling to that which is good.” More now than ever, we need to take a stand, and establish convictions based on God’s Word and not the world! It may be trite but it’s true, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” What do you stand for today?
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said; “No one can serve two masters” – Take a stand! When Moses brought down the Ten Commandments only to find the Israelites worshipping an idol; he called for those who were for the Lord to come to his side and take a stand! Again, Joshua said to the Israelites, “You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done. But, if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose this day whom you will serve” – Take a stand! And finally, the words of Elijah as he spoke to the people before challenging the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel; “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, then follow Him!” – Take a stand!
If I may, let me paraphrase of the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:24 – where Jesus speaks of the wise and foolish builders; “Therefore, if anyone hears my words, and puts them into practice in his or her life, that man takes a stand upon a rock! And when Satan tries to dissuade him by all sorts of cunning schemes and trials and temptations and doubt, HE WILL BE ABLE TO STAND and be strong in God’s mighty power. However, anyone who hears these words and does not put them into practice, is like the foolish man who takes a stand upon the sand; and when these same things come upon him, he will slip and slide and stagger and fall.” I think it’s time. It’s time to “Believe God.” He has said “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.” And perhaps, as in the days of the prophet Joel, “a fountain will flow out of God’s house and will water the valley of our world.
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