Standing can be tiring. The other day I was standing for an extended period in the kitchen. I stood while preparing a pancake breakfast for the kids, serving the meal, and washing a pile of dishes that had accumulated. After being on my feet for a while, I was ready to sit down.
I couldn’t sit down until the work was done. For certain things, you have to stand. Flipping pancakes from a sitting position would not have worked. Washing dishes while seated in a dining room chair would have been equally impractical. The only way to get the job done was to be on my feet.
In spiritual warfare, too, certain things require you to be on your feet. Being on your feet isn’t always easy. Life can knock us down. Losses can bring us to our knees. Disappointment after disappointment can make us want to sit down and never get back up again.
Notice a word that appears three times in quick succession in the armor of God passage: “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 …” (Ephesians 6:13-14a)
Spiritual warfare is not a matter to take lightly. It calls for standing, being on your feet, ready to fight. We don’t back down. We hold our ground, the ground that Jesus has claimed for us. We stand on His Word, including the promise: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
One of the strongest spiritual warriors of all time is Jesus’ mother, Mary. She displayed incredible faith multiple times in Scripture. God chose her to bear His Son – it took faith to accept such an important assignment. At the wedding in Cana, when everyone else was panicked over the shortage of wine, Mary was unfazed. She knew Jesus had it under control.
Without question, her most challenging test of faith was when she stood at the foot of her Son’s cross. How could she not fall apart and crumble to the ground as her Son was dying? If she had cursed God for allowing such cruelty to happen to her Son, we might excuse her anger.
But Scripture characterizes her response differently. It’s a small phrase, easily missed:
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and [the other women].” (John 19:25) Mary was standing. She wasn’t just standing on her feet. She was taking her stand against the devil and His schemes.
By God’s grace, she would remain standing as a believer in her Savior and our Savior. After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, the book of Acts tells us, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Acts 1:14) Mary took her stand against Satan, and God held her up.
By God’s power, you and I can take our stand:
- When tragedy strikes, we can stand against the temptation to give up. By God’s grace, we press on, even when we feel like quitting.
- When life seems too hard, we can stand firm in the face of overwhelming pressure. We can hold to our convictions and refuse to compromise our values.
- When life is going well, we can stand strong against the tendency to become prideful. With humble hearts, we lean on God, not ourselves.
With God’s armor wrapped around us, we can plant our feet firmly and be unmoved.
This article builds on ideas contained in the introduction of Equipped: The Armor of God for Every Struggles. Click here for more about the book.