1 Kings 19:14-18
“Elijah said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
We live in a broken world. We live in the midst of an idolatrous society that has rejected the truth about God and is increasingly hostile to the message of Christ. When confronted by challenges and difficulty, we must not allow our focus to drift away from God and onto self, otherwise we will feel overwhelmed. We must be careful to stay deeply connected to the source of true strength.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm. Stand therefore ... “ (Ephesians 6.10, 13-14)
Paul’s message in Ephesians 6 is that the Lord provides us with the strength and the armor that is necessary to step into the arena of combat and stand against the schemes of the devil.
“Stand” is a key word in this passage. Paul repeats it in verses 11, 13, and 14. Also, the word “resist” (6:13) comes from a Greek compound word from the root, “to stand,” meaning literally to stand against. It’s a military term for holding on to a position that is under attack. It is the admonition to hold your ground—to hold our point—in the face of an attacking enemy.
Peter also admonishes us to stand firm. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith …” (1 Peter 5:6-9).
These passages refer to our conflict with the enemy. They speak in military terms because they address the reality of the battle we fight, and they focus on the Lord’s directive to stand your ground. Hold your point. Stand firm.
When you put together these passages of scripture, a very clear picture emerges. In order to stand firm against the enemy, especially in those situations when we are being targeted, we must be strong in the Lord. We must be faithful and fight the good fight. That means being humble, mentally tough, alert, trained, and equipped with God’s armor. This is the pathway to victory.
Here is what does not work. Being self-centered, mentally weak, distracted and not paying attention, untrained/unprepared, and lacking in key pieces of God’s armor. This is the pathway to painful defeat.
As followers of Christ, we are in the arena every day. We are in the battle. Let us be faithful, trust in our God, stand firm, flight the good fight, and hold our position at the point of attack.
In what area of your life do you need to be stronger? Where in your life do you need to hold your ground and stand against the enemy?
Whatever circumstances and challenges you may be facing, listen to the voice of God calling to you. Listen to the voice of Truth and stand strong. Fight the good fight.
The Lord is calling.