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May 12, 2017

Taking Your Stand!

“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….” Ephesians 6:13-14a (NIV)

If we want to win the relationship in a conflict and experience a deeper connection, then we must not only be aware of who the real enemy is but we must be aware of the outcome as well. This is the best part, and it so powerful and positive because the Bible says we don’t have to fight the devil – we just have to stand! That’s the point of what Paul is saying in Ephesians 6:13-14. Three times, he uses the word stand. He doesn’t say to fight because Satan is a defeated enemy! Jesus has already defeated the devil! We just have to stand in the victory Christ won on the cross! I love the way the Living Bible paraphrases Colossians 2:15. It says,

“In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.” 

Days of evil will come, and we will experience conflict. But, the good news is that, in those days, we don’t need to fight the devil. We just need to enter the ring and take our stand in Christ who has already won the battle in this cosmic conflict at the cross! Knowing the outcome ahead of time gives us confidence and courage to act as we stand. How do we stand? What actions do we take?

First, Praise! Satan feeds on negativity but is repelled by praise! Why? Because the Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people. David’s song in 2 Samuel 22:4 illustrates our part and God’s part as we take our stand against the enemy.

“I called on the Lord who is worthy of praise (this is my part), and He saved me from my enemies. (this is God’s part)”

We can praise God for the truth that sets us free. As we stand, Paul tells us to,

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place….” Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)

God has given you and me the championship belt in this cosmic conflict. It is the belt of truth. When Satan tries to deceive us with his lies, we can turn to the truth of God’s Word. It is one of the two offensive weapons that God has given us in the armor of God.  He calls it the sword of the Spirit. As we unleash that sword, we can take the second action…

Second, Proclaim! What do we proclaim? Look at Ephesians 6:15-17

“… 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.”  

We proclaim the gospel of peace. It’s knowing the outcome and proclaiming the gospel of peace that enables us to get into the ring and take our stand. Rather than responding with our feelings of hurt or pain, we take up the shield of faith that protects us from bitterness or revenge, trusting God to bring peace and deeper connection from our conflict. We can do that because He has given us a protective helmet, the helmet of salvation, to guard our thoughts and keep our minds in the truth of His Word.

The final action is Pray! Too often, we lose the conflicts and the relationships because we simply fail to pray. In Ephesians 6:18 the Bible says,

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  

Notice how many times Paul uses the word all. Pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests for all the saints. We pray to the Prince of Peace that He will bring peace in our relationships and praise Him for defeating the devil at the cross. We proclaim the truth of God’s Word in our prayers.

One of the great benefits of a community of faith is that we can pray with other Christ followers. Are you facing a conflict in a relationship? Are you at a loss as to what to do?  Why not ask a Christ follower in your community of faith to pray with you this weekend at church?