Ephesians 6:13 (NIV) says:
“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.”
What struggles have you been through lately? So many folks I know are going through one challenge after another. Sometimes one challenge on top of another. After a while, it feels overwhelming. You start to wonder: “Lord, how much longer? How much more?”
I was asking those questions recently. It seemed like I was being hit from all sides – everything was going wrong. I had given everything to God, done everything I felt like He asked me to do. “What now, Lord? I don’t know what else to do. What more do You want me to do? What more CAN I do?”
I heard His still small voice. “Just stand, Janet. Just stand.”
It took a while for those words to sink into my heart. I had been in battle mode, taking all kinds of action. Now I felt that the Lord was saying, “Just stand.”
What does that mean? “Just stand.”
“Standing” IS an action. Have you thought about that?
We always hear people say, “Don’t just stand there. Do something!” But sometimes, “Just standing there” IS doing something.
When I felt those words in my spirit that day, it didn’t feel that the Lord was telling me, “There’s nothing more to do.” He was saying, “There IS more to do. It’s a big thing that I’m asking you to do, Janet. I’m asking you to JUST STAND.”
I felt so encouraged by those words. I could almost hear the cheers, the chorus from heaven, the cloud of witnesses, Jesus Himself, saying, “Come on, Janet, you’re almost there! The battle’s almost over. JUST STAND. You can do this! I, God, will finish the good work I started in you!”
When the world is falling apart, all around you … if you can stand still, hold your ground, let the Lord finish the battle … that’s an action.
When the Lord is helping you through a challenge … if you can just stand, resting in the Lord, trusting Him to get you through it … that’s an action.
When the Lord has brought you to a place of breakthrough … if you can stand on faith, and hold the ground the Lord has won for you … that’s an action.
“After you have done everything … to stand.”
The Lord asks us to stand in faith while HE finishes the battle.
I want to look at 2 Chronicles 20. In the first 4 verses, there’s a vast army pressing in on Jehoshaphat, bearing down from all sides. In verses 5-12 (NIV), Jehoshaphat stands before God and all the people and he prays:
“O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
How does God answer? Let’s look at verses 15-17. God says:
“Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ “
Some battles we are called to fight. In other battles … sometimes late in the battle … sometimes in the aftermath of battle … we are called to “just stand” and let God do the rest. STAND and SEE the deliverance He brings.
“Just stand.” It’s a reminder that no matter what kind of action the Lord calls us to take, the battle is never really ours to win. It’s always His.
In his book called Fear, Henry W. Wright talks about Ephesians 6:13: “After you have done everything … to stand.” He refers to people who have been healed from chronic fear. They will continue to be tempted by fear. They have to walk out their healing, and trust the ground, the new land, the freedom the Lord has given them. They are called to “Just stand.”
It’s the same with everything the Lord frees us from, with every breakthrough, every new piece of ground He gives us.
We have to claim it … claim His promises, claim His victory. Stand on faith. Even when our flesh says, “This isn’t working.” Even when the enemy says, “You haven’t won anything.”
So … how do we “Just stand”?
(1) First, we have to discern if God is calling us to fight a battle, or take some other action … or if He’s calling us to “just stand.” We need to be in prayer, to hear what God is calling us to do in each moment, and take each of our actions from Him.
(2) Second, Ephesians 6:10-13 tells us to put on the whole armor of God, so that we can “stand.” Remember, standing is action; standing is part of battle. We need the whole armor of God.
(3) Third, in order to stand, we need something to stand on, a firm foundation. In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus tells us that the wise man builds his house on rock, so he can withstand the storms. We need to be immersed in the Word of God. We need to stand on His promises to us.
(4) Fourth, we need support from our Christian family. It’s not easy to “just stand” in the midst of battle. We need folks cheering us on, supporting us, praying for us, reminding us of God’s promises. We do not need to stand in isolation. We need to stand together.
(5) Fifth, to “just stand” requires faith. We need to let God grow us in our faith daily. We need to take note and thank Him for the things He does in our lives. We need to submit our impossible situations to Him and watch Him work; then celebrate, thank Him and share our testimonies.
(6) Sixth, we need to learn how to “rest” in the Lord, to trust Him with our battles, with our lives, to lay ourselves at the Cross and stop trying to make things happen by our own strength. To trust that God gives us all we need, so that we can do all He asks us to do. So that we can STAND.
Where are you right now? Is there a struggle in your life, where the Lord is asking you to “just stand”? Is there someone you are praying for, who needs your prayers so they can “just stand”?
Know that whenever God asks you to “stand,” He is there for you. He is all powerful. He will win the battle. If you call out to Him for help, He will give you the ability to “stand.” And He is faithful to accomplish all He intends, all He promises for your life.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore 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.”
This was my “guest message” for the Sunday evening “Service of More,” Dahlonega United Methodist Church, Dahlonega, Georgia, August 2009