Recently, I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians and the number of times Paul has drawn me to the word “stand” has blown me away.
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2, emphasis added)
When I read this verse all I could think was: “What does it look like to stand on the Gospel?” So I set out to find the answer. When studying, I don’t always stick in the chapter, or frankly book I’m studying. I have been bouncing around through Paul’s letters to find greater meaning in what it means “to stand.” I kept finding myself in Ephesians 6:10-18.
“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 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. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-19, emphasis added)
Paul emphasizes that we need to stand against the devil’s schemes and tells us how to do so – by putting on the armor of God. I had a friend on summer mission trip who mentally put on the armor of God every morning before journeying out. She would stand in front of the mirror and fit herself with each piece of armor. Oh! Sweet friend, if only it were that simple! For me, it begs the question, how do I practically put on the armor of God? I think it all boils down to the last piece of armor – the sword. The sword of the Spirit is His word, The Good Book. We study it and we are able to remain in God and stand firm.
I’ve heard so many verses about what it means to remain in God. But what God continued to teach me is that it is simple to remain in Him – because He is already in us. We only have to seek Him. That’s when I stumbled upon this verse:
“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, bearing this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19, emphasis added)
Stand firm on this: the Lord has called you and knows you are His. But do you know that you are His? Sweet dear friend, I struggle deeply with identity. But each time I am settled in who Christ is, I’m reminded of who I am in Him.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Here we see the attributes of the Spirit – the attributes of God. What good words these are to describe the Father who loves us so. But how do they relate to us? For that, I turn to Colossians.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance with someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
Friend, did you catch the similarities there? The words that Paul uses to describe God’s character in Galatians, Paul uses in Colossians. So how can we stand? We can start by crawling, by pulling ourselves up on God’s promises. To do this, we must turn away from wickedness and turn towards kindness, goodness, gentleness, joy, patiences, & self control. Turn towards God, cling to the God in our hearts, the pieces of Himself that He has placed their intentionally. Sweet, friend as you turn towards Him, you heart, mind, and soul will be guarded in Him using His armor because if God knows you are His, so does Satan. All along this path we walk, God provides us a way to stand. Satan will try to draw us from God, so instead we need to stand firm on the Gospel, put on our armor everyday, and believe we are who God says we are: His. By remaining in Him, we can stand. We can stand on the Gospel.