So if we are not called to conquer and fix the world, if we are not called to hate and fight our enemies, then where exactly is our fight?
Take a moment to read and meditate upon the armor of God considering all it reveals as to where the battle is and who it is against …
Finally, be strong IN the Lord and IN the strength of His might. Put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the BELT OF TRUTH, and having put on the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the READINESS GIVEN BY THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. In all circumstances take up the SHIELD OF FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the word of God, praying at all times IN the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV)
Did you see it? Believers are not the ones attacking … we are under attack. A quick summary on a few points …
- We are to be strong IN the Lord and IN the strength of His might
- We are to pray at all times IN the Spirit with all prayer and supplication
- We do not wrestle against flesh and blood
- We are to stand against the schemes of the devil
- We do wrestle against the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places
- The armor of God will help us to withstand in the evil day
- By the shield of faith, we are to extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one
- We are to stand firm
OK, so how would we describe taking a stand or standing firm? A few definitions: hold one’s ground; maintain a position; be steadfast or upright – withstand the force of something.
The second part of that definition is easy to correlate to the above … we are withstanding the force of evil. But what ground or position are we maintaining? (remember … we are not on the attack … we are under attack).
Before answering that question, first and foremost memorize the words of assurance from Psalm 18:1-2 …
I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
There has never been … nor will there ever be … a stronger fortress!
Yet He does not need us to defend Him … He is our defense!
So to begin with, we are to put on Christ Jesus … we are to stand firm IN the Lord …
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14 (ESV)
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus IN the Lord, my beloved. Philippians 4:1 (ESV)
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing …
Now consider Paul’s word regarding standing firm …
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and NOT frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. Philippians 1:27-28 (ESV)
Did you notice that last verse? Standing firm is a testimony to our opponents of their destruction … and also a testimony to our God-given salvation. So it would seem that standing firm may indeed have a built-in evangelistic aspect … as God sees fit.
But despite all these passages, I know someone is still looking for a good fight and Paul does not disappoint in that regard …
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (ESV)
And standing firm in the faith is indeed one aspect of that fight …
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (ESV)
One final word that enters into this conversation of fighting the good fight and standing firm is endure. Endure is defined as: put up with something or somebody unpleasant, face and withstand with courage … that also seems to align with the armor of God passage above … consider these words of Jesus.
See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:4-13 (ESV)
May we all be able to share in Paul’s declaration below when our life on this earth comes to an end …
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 2:7 (ESV)