Take your stand.
Stand your ground.
And after you’ve done everything else, stand.
Hmm…I’m sensing a theme here.
I read these words in a letter Paul wrote to the people in Ephesus. It’s in the sixth chapter of Ephesians in the Bible.
Here’s my take:
Considering the number of times these words are used, it seems that through Paul, God is encouraging us to be strong and take a stand in every area of our life. And our strength to do so is to come from God and his mighty power (vs.10).
Good thing. Because I can be a wimp sometimes. Especially when circumstances seem to come at me in attack mode.
So what does this “take a stand” thing mean for me in my life today?
With my kids…
It says here that it is good for children to obey their parents so it will go well with the kids. Don’t we all want things to go well for our children? Then perhaps we need to stand firm in requiring obedience from them. Not to exasperate them with ridiculous expectations or harsh commands, but to train and instruct them with firm loving kindness. (vs.1-4)
With my boss…
Treat my employer (or other authority) with respect and sincerity of heart. When I’m tempted to gossip or bad mouth them, or a co-worker does, take a stand against that temptation to malign them. Remember that whatever work I do, my real boss is Jesus. I’m actually working for him not men. (vs. 5-8)
With my employees…
If I have people who work for me, I need to take a stand to treat them with kindness, fairness and not threaten them in any way. Bullying seems to have become common in the workplace as a way to extract results from employees, but we can make a difference by being considerate, generous and encouraging. (vs.9)
In my life in general…
Circumstances often batter me and my family. Daily or even hourly at times. Late night homework, accidents, mishaps, arguments or spilling chocolate smoothies all over my kitchen. (True story all the way to the ceiling!)
But I believe God has more for us in life than constant distraction and putting out fires. (Or as the Bible calls them in Song of Songs, “the little foxes” that ruin the vineyards. You’ll have to read that one in chapter 2:15 to get the gist.)
In the final verses of Ephesians 6, Paul’s telling us that what we’re actually fighting against isn’t things or people, it’s spiritual forces of evil.
Say what? Like zombies or something?
Well, no, not exactly.
God’s enemy, Satan, has evil spirits that badger us and cause mayhem. Like the commercial only worse. (Maybe you thought it was God causing all the trouble flooding the world…?)
Paul is saying that we have “armor” we can put on every day—tools to fight in this battle. But they are spiritual tools for a spiritual battle. Truth, righteousness, peace, the Bible, faith and knowing we are saved by Jesus. Kind of like thinking “happy thoughts.” (Phil.4:8)
And prayer. For help. For others.
But the enemy is out to destroy anyone who even thinks of siding with God, so we have to be alert. Recognize it. Be ready. Stand firm. And keep standing. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Declare that we are taking a stand with God.
And because of God’s mighty power, which he grants us in Jesus’ name, we can command Satan and his army. Really! They actually cower in fear at the feet of Jesus whose name we call on (see Mark 4:33-37, Eph.1:19-20)
So today, I’m asking God to help me be alert, pray, encourage others and take a stand.
Where do you need to take a stand?