The soldier was standing, but barely. The enemy rushed in from all sides, attacking with renewed ferocity. He mustered all his strength just to keep his shield up and his sword swinging. As soon as one attacker was down, another one took its place. Would it never end? He didn’t know how much longer he could stay on his feet.
Behind what our eyes can see, God fights spiritual battles against the powers of darkness. As Christians, we have an important role to play. Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV) gives us instructions for these battles raging all around us:
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.
Paul instructed us on which armor to wear in battle. He told us to keep our sheild between us and the enemy’s darts. He told us to use the Word of God as our sword. Other than that, he says four times to STAND.
Has that ever struck you as odd? Why would he tell us to stand? Why didn’t he tell us to take ground? Or to set an ambush? How can a battle be won without an offense?
Perhaps he told us to simply stand because standing is our assigned duty.
But who will fight? How will our battles be won?
I was curious, so I searched through the Bible for the word “stand” as related to warfare. Here is what I found.
The battle is too big for us.
“Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.”Psalm 94:16-17 ESV
Just like a child confronted by a bully, sometimes the parent needs to stand up against injustice. The child is just not capable of the task.
Standing in faith unlocks God’s miraculous plan.
“And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’…And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”Joshua 3:8, 13 ESV
The priests obeyed God, stood in the water of the Jordan River. And sure enough, God parted the waters so the Israelites could cross on dry ground. Sometimes, God gives us one tiny step to take. When we take that step and stand firm, He unleashes His miraculous power.
God never intended for us to fight these battles.
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”2 Chronicles 20:17 ESV
All along, God knew that these battles were HIS to fight. He fights them for us in ways that we cannot fathom. He fights FOR us.
We are to stand firm in prayer, armed with his spiritual armor. Our prayers of faith unlock the spiritual forces battling evil that we cannot see.
The soldier lifted his eyes to see the battlefield around him. He wasn’t alone. He was surrounded by mighty warriors much bigger than he. In the distance, he could see the darkness receding. The General had sent enough reinforcements to vanquish the enemy horde. It was a good thing. He barely had the strength to stand. Despite his weariness, he smiled, knowing the battle’s outcome was already determined. He could stand a little longer. It was only a matter of time until the enemy realized their defeat.