What do you do when you are stuck at the crossroads, and you’ve done all you can? Stand. You. Just. Stand.
While this advice may seem counterintuitive and illogical to those of you who may be broken and collapsed due to emotional, spiritual, relational, or even physical trials, I believe it is God’s answer for you on this Mindful Monday.
How do I know?
Personal, painstaking experience. Yes, I have been on an 18-month journey to standing. And it was in the place of brokenness and pain, fear and insecurity, that God met me and taught me how to stand again.
Just one simple word. A fairly easy action. Not much thinking required.
But it is not our “go-to” position, is it?
Usually, we rely on the automatic “fight or flight” response when we face an obstacle or adversary. Sometimes we pull ourselves together, gather our resources, and prepare to fight. Other times, we run for cover hoping to protect ourselves from the flying shrapnel, waiting until the storm passes.
Yet, God offers an alternative: Stand.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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 6:10-13 (NIV)
The phrase that keeps resonating with me is the inspiration for this post: “…and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Here is how some other versions of the Bible translate this small phrase:
“and having done all, stand firm” (ESV)
“then after the the battle you will still be standing firm” (NLT)
“to stand firm in your place–fully prepared, immovable, victorious” (AMP)
“so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet” (MSG)
WHEN TO STAND
Before, after, and during the battle.
There is never a time God tells us to stop standing.
Did you catch that? He does not give us an out. He does not say there is a time to run and hide. He does not say that after we have given it our best we can quit and sit down.
(Trust me, I have been searching for the loopholes!)
However, we also cannot miss what God says He will do for us as we stand:
GOD WILL USE HIS STRENGTH AND POWER TO DELIVER US.
“…Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today.” Exodus 14:13
GOD WILL PROTECT US WITH HIS ARMOR.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
GOD WILL STAY BY OUR SIDE AND NEVER LEAVE US ALONE.
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
Our struggles in this life are real, powerful, and inevitable. God knows this and wants us to prepare us for the onslaught of schemes and devices the enemy will throw at us to knock us off our feet.
Whether your battle is internal or external, temporary or permanent, life-altering or mildly annoying, God’s command does not change.
God’s Word tells us we are not to be passive participants but to proactively prepare for battle by arming ourselves.
The hard days are sure to come. There will be battles. And when they do, we have to choose to stand our ground.
While our hard-wired response when we face danger may be the “fight or flight” response, we can choose God’s option instead: Stand.
Don’t attack or react aggressively. Don’t run away and hide in fear. (I have done both in the past, and neither has worked well for me!)
STAND IN TRUTH.
STAND IN GOD’S PROTECTIVE ARMOR.
STAND IN FREEDOM, KNOWING THE BATTLE IS ULTIMATELY THE LORD’S.
STAND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHO GOD IS AND WHO YOU ARE IN HIM.
HOW TO STAND
This is the very question I have been wrestling with the past several weeks: how do you stand again?
I’ll use an acrostic as a way to share what God has taught me.
S – STOP SITTING (AND FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF) AND START BY GETTING BACK ON YOUR FEET.
T – TAKE YOUR TIME. WHEN YOU STAND, YOU ARE NOT MOVING, AND THAT IS OKAY. BE FIRM, BUT STILL.
A – ACCEPT GOD’S HELP. ALLOW HIM TO ARM YOU WITH HIS TRUTH, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, HIS FAITH, HIS WORD, AND HIS SPIRIT.
N – NOTICE YOUR SURROUNDINGS. WHO/WHAT IS AROUND YOU? WILL THEY PROPEL YOU FORWARD OR HOLD YOU BACK?
D – DEFEND YOUR GROUND. BOUNDARIES ARE A GOOD THING. HEALTHY AND STRONG PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO KEEP THE BAD OUT AND LET IN THE GOOD.
A few more things I have to tell you about standing. And I feel I would be remiss if I did not let you in on these truths…
- Standing is hard especially when you feel like moving.
- Standing stretches you in ways you cannot imagine.
- Standing can get uncomfortable.
- Standing may be misunderstood by others in your life.
But in the end, if God calls you to stand, it is exactly what you need to do.