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October 26, 2012

Stand // Day 10

How to Stand Determined

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” Eph. 6:13 (NIV)

It wasn’t long after I became a Christian and became serious about my relationship with Jesus that I experienced challenges to my faith. Those challenges were both external and internal. As Christ followers we face three very real enemies. The bible describes them as the world or our fallen culture; the flesh, our own sinful desires; and the devil, the thief that comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. Peter described his experience with the devil as a roaring lion, roaming to and fro throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour! (Talk about a threat!) So how do we stand against enemies like that? How can we stand determined in a culture that constantly challenges everything we believe? How do we overcome the desires of our own flesh that are contrary to what we believe or even feel at the time? What protects us from a roaring lion seeking to devour us?

God permits these threats to develop our faith and learn to trust in Him. When Paul’s faith was challenged and he was imprisoned, chained to Roman guards, he drew a fascinating metaphor from the armor the guards wore and how a Christ follower could stand determined no matter what the circumstance. Look at his description:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests….” Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

He couldn’t have made it clearer could he? If we are to stand determined we must put on the full armor of God. We must recognize that our strength comes from the Lord and His mighty power – not will power. When we do, Paul says we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. Ever wonder what those schemes are? What is it that seems to always trip you up? What are the triggers that cause you the most problems and temptations? These are Satan’s schemes. Too often we get so caught up in the material world that we don’t consider where the real battle is taking place. The bible says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It’s not your boss, your wife, your husband, your parent, your child or your in-laws! The bible says our real battle is a spiritual one. Look at the description again: “… against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil…” Sounds spooky doesn’t it? Not to fear. Listen to his counsel –

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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

I used to think that every morning I had to go through this ritual of putting on each piece of this armor. Sometimes I worried that I had left some of it off. As I’ve grown I realized that when I put on Jesus, He clothed me with all the armor I needed to stand determined!