In Following Jesus – Stand Fast!

In our last post, we learned that following Jesus begins with a personal relationship with Him. Once we have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we begin a life-long journey that will bring us many ups and downs throughout our relationship with him. The Apostle Paul encourages us in our verse today in Philippians 4:1, “Therefore my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” (KJV)

Paul has encouraged the Philippian church in how to live the Christian life, and now he builds upon this by saying, “Therefore,” (which means, because of this) and he gives a final instruction to be built upon all that he has told them… “stand fast in the Lord…” In our quest to follow Jesus we must stand firm, in belief, in action, in faith, in every aspect of our life with Him. There will be times when life throws us into obstacles, and we need to be firmly planted in Christ or we will be thrown off course, off the pathway, He has laid out for us, and we will falter in our faith. The Bible tells us that those who keep their faith and trust in Jesus will “be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3 KJV)

If you look at trees, their root system digs deep until it can find a water source. This helps the tree to stand firm and not be blown over by every wind that comes along. So then, when we are firmly standing on God’s Word and our faith in Him is deep, we will not be blown about by every difficultly that comes our way.

In the middle of this pandemic, I’m hearing so many who are fearful. The news media isn’t helping, and I believe that many are so hooked into the newscasts that they are becoming fearful because of what they hear. They haven’t looked at the One who can protect them, they haven’t placed their faith deep into Him, realizing that He will not let them go, but will hold tightly to them.

Another means of standing firm in Jesus in to put on the full armor of God, that we find in Ephesians 6. Paul tells us that we are to stand! As soldiers in God’s army, we are to stand, not cower, against the forces of evil or in fear of the things that come against us.

We notice that each piece of the armor protects us. The belt of truth is the knowledge of God’s Word. It is the piece upon which the other parts of the armor are anchored. Without the study of God’s Word, we find it easy to falter in our faith.

The breastplate of righteousness represents a holy character and moral conduct. In his commentary on Ephesians, J. Vernon McGee says, “Only the righteousness of Christ can enable the believer to stand before men and before God, but the heart that is to be protected should be a heart that is not condemning the believer;” McGee says that our hearts should have a heart and conscience that is right with God.

Our feet should be “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (NIV) Good shoes are necessary for standing. Our shoes need to provide a good foundation upon which to stand. A soldier must have good footing that is anchored. For a Christian, that anchor is in Christ Jesus, who is our peace.

Next is the shield of faith. A shield protects from the attacks of the enemy. Paul tells the Ephesians that the shield will help them “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16 KJV) When we are in a battle of the enemy of our souls, we need that shield. My study Bible says that “The shield of faith means taking God at His word by believing His promises.”

Then we have the helmet of salvation. J. Vernon Mc Gee states that “The helmet protects the head, and God does appeal to the mind of man. I recognize that He appeals to the heart, but God also appeals to the intellect. Throughout the Scriptures God uses reason with man.” However, Satan also appeals to our minds, and then we are fixed in a battle between God’s voice and Satan’s. Joyce Meyer states that the battlefield is our mind. If we don’t put a guard around our mind, Satan can and does come against us with thoughts that will cause us to doubt our faith, will cause us to think on unholy things, and will downright lie to us. So, as we trust in our hearts what God’s Word tells us, we must also think on His Word, tucking Scripture into our memory so that when the enemy comes, we can do battle by speaking truth from God’s Word to defeat our enemy, which leads us to our last piece of armor, the sword of the Spirit.

This is the only weapon in the Believer’s arsenal that is an offensive weapon. All the others are defensive. The Bible has been called a sword. Its contents are sharp. It reveals truth from lies. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (NASB) This is where speaking Scripture becomes a weapon to be used against the enemy. The advantage of hiding God’s Word in our hearts helps us to defeat Satan.

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, it was Jesus speaking the Word of God that defeated the enemy. We must remember though, that Satan also knows Scripture, so we must be able to use it appropriately, knowing the meaning and the context of the Scripture. We can win any battle by showing the enemy that we are standing firm upon the foundation of God’s Word and nothing can move us.

Verse 18 of Ephesians 6 tells us that what makes the armor powerful is prayer. We are to pray in every situation, seeking God’s wisdom and help. My study Bible says, “Without prayer God’s armor is inadequate to achieve victory.”

All of this helps us to stand fast in the Lord! So, put on your armor, pray, and put your roots deep into God’s Word. You will be like those trees whose roots run deep!

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