Lately, I have been dwelling on Ephesians 6:10-17, which is familiar to you if you have been reading my blog as of late. Have you ever noticed how often Paul charges his readers to ‘stand firm’ in that passage? I did! Three times! Anyone who studies the Bible knows to pay attention when something is repeated multiple times in a short passage.
Most of my readers know that I lived with a lifelong progressive disability. One of the symptoms of that disability was an inability to stand still for more than a few seconds without becoming extremely fatigued. Standing perfectly still takes an incredible amount of energy from me. Within a few minutes, my quads begin to burn, my calves start to quake, and everything within me desperately wants to move!
Through friends who are occupational and physical therapists, I have learned that standing for any length of time when you’re not using anything to lean against for support requires a strong core. No wonder the Nazis tortured their starving prisoners by making them stand perfectly still for hours. One move, one slight shuffle of your feet, earned you a brutal beating at the very least.
Yes, standing firm is not an easy thing to do without a strong core. And yet, if you do a word search on ‘stand firm’ in any Bible Search Engine, you’ll see that God commands his people to ‘stand firm’ on numerous occasions. He doesn’t command us to stand firm to torture us. He does so for our benefit.
One of my favourite Old Testament passages, found in 2 Chronicles 20:15-22, tells the story of King Jehoshaphat and his army as they faced impossible odds. They were hopelessly outnumbered by three opposing armies coming against them as one.
Yahweh gave the King seemingly bizarre military advice. He told the army to follow unarmed worshippers to the battlefield and then to stand and watch what the Lord would do. Can you imagine being a soldier in that army, hearing the rumblings of three armies coming together to strike against you? Your sweaty fingers twitch on the hilt of your sword. Adrenaline courses through your body, but there is no release. Your muscles burn as they cannot step into the movements embedded in their memory through countless hours of training.
And yet, Jehoshaphat’s army did just that. They placed their trust in Yahweh and not just their training. They obeyed His command to stand, and Yahweh came through!
Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ mode of action when you face spiritual opposition? Does your spiritual muscle memory spring into autopilot as you yield the sword of your favourite Bible verses or Spiritual Warfare methodologies?
Stand firm and resist the urge to run ahead of God’s strategies through presumptive action.
The Lord is saying to His people. “Wait on me, stand firm, and listen for my strategies before you act. Do not presume that yesterday’s battle strategies apply to today’s battles.”
Work on your spiritual core muscles by learning to stand still and to stand firm in the face of opposition. Keep your eyes fixed on your King rather than an old game plan.
©2023 Katherine Walden