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. 14 Stand firm then ...
- Ephesians 6:10-14a NIV
How badly do I need to hear and heed this message. "Take your stand", "stand your ground", "stand", "stand firm". How much easier is it to just "go with the flow". Standing your ground is hard. It takes diligence and strength. Going with the flow, not making waves, taking it easy; all these are much less demanding.
I'm not good at standing firm. It takes too much commitment and sacrifice. How often do I start out standing firm, but before long I am tired, or distracted, or discouraged, or any number of other excuses. I long to be like a rock that never wavers or grows weary. But too often it seems I am more like the tumbleweed, that is planted firmly in the ground, until the wind blows too hard and uproots it, sending it rolling across the landscape.
Standing firm reminds me of the tree out in the forest that endures the winter cold and storms, the flooding creeks and the ravages of fire. And yet in spite of all that is thrown against it, it remains firmly rooted in the ground, reaching up to the sky. All around it the forest may be littered with trees that did not stand firm. But this tree is testament that standing firm is worth while, with crashing to the ground the alternative.
Standing your ground also reminds me of some of King David's mighty men. Eleazar stood his ground against the Philistines while the rest of the army retreated, and was victorious. Shammah took his stand in the middle of a field when all others fled, and saw a great victory. These men did not "go with the flow". Instead they stood firm even when faced with overwhelming odds, and were victorious.
Standing firm reminds me of the wise man who built his house on the rock rather than the sand. And when the flood waters rose around it, and the winds beat on it, the house stood firm. How did he manage that? By listening to Jesus words and putting them into practice in his own life.
I wonder if that would work for me? Stay rooted in Christ, not watching where other people are going but keeping my eyes on Jesus, absorbing his words and letting them bear fruit in my own life! Put on the full armor of God, recognize the real opposition, and then stand firm against it, holding to the piece of ground God has placed me on.