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The Battle Stance
The Lord wants you to know that He has already defeated the kingdom of darkness. He is saying to His church, "You need to arm up. You need to get ready, for the battle is coming." Ephesians 6:13 says, "So that you can stand in the evil day." You may ask, "What day is that?" Any day that has evil in it. We may think it is talking about when the battle is the fiercest and the hottest, when everything is flying around. Some days you seem to be doing okay, and other days everything seems to be coming down upon you. The battle is raging. Everything is fierce. The mortars are exploding all around, and wherever you turn shrapnel is hitting you. In those days, you want to be able to stand. You need to put on the armor so that you can stand. The believer's battle stance is to stand.
You have to hold your ground. That is that first word, 'histemi,' which means, "to stand or stand against." There is protection as you do that. The believer is to take or assume his battle stance of standing. Standing is not running away. Standing is not fleeing. Standing is not surrendering. If you are running away or fleeing, you are not standing at all. You must hold your ground and you must keep holding your ground.
In verse 13, Paul used the word 'stenai' and he used the word 'katergazomai' in front of that to give you a word that means "opposing, resisting, withstanding, hanging in there, not giving up, persevering." This means that you keep holding your ground. You determine, "I will not give up. I will not give in." Then you finish by holding your ground: "Having done everything, stand." The King James version says, "Having overcome all, stand."
Some people think that the end of verse 13 means, "Since you can't do anything else, stand," or, "Since nothing else you are doing is working so far, stand." He is not saying that if nothing else is working you should just hang in there and hopefully, after a while, it will quit. He says stay until the end.
The word, "having done all," here means, "to be doing thoroughly, working it out." It means, "having brought everything to the ultimate conclusion, having finished it, stand." You start standing, you hang in there, standing. And you finish standing. When you stand, when the dust settles, you will still be standing. If you will take your position and say, "I will not be moved. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. When God is in me, He is greater. I am going to take my position, I am going to stand, and I am not going to be moved from this. Nobody is going to push me or knock me off this. I am going to hang in there. The grace of God will come and He will be able to protect me. And then, when the battle is fierce and dust and everything is flying; when it is all settled, if I will stand, I will still be standing when it is over."
Reasons To Stand
The problem comes when things start flying around and we say, "Uh-oh! It's time for me to bail out." Then we just take off. We run, or we say, "Okay, I'm tired. I surrender. I give up. Can we quit now?" Don't do that. We have been given everything to be able to stand. Let me conclude by giving four reasons why we should stand.
First: God commands it. That should be enough. We can actually stop there, but we won't. God says to do it. The good soldier of Jesus Christ will decide to do it, if for no other reason than our commander-in-chief, Jesus, Captain of the Host of the Lord, commanded us to do it. The problem is that soldiers are sometimes more interested in saving themselves than they are in the cause of Christ. They do not realize that as they stand, that is their protection. They think they may be saving themselves by running, but in reality, they are making themselves more vulnerable. We need to have an attitude that says," I'm going to serve Christ no matter what."
It is an attitude like that of Uriah the Hittite. He was the first husband of Bathsheba. King David had a little problem there. He thought he could solve this problem by getting rid of Uriah. So the first thing he did was to bring him in from the battlefield. His wife was pregnant and Uriah was not the father, David was. So David told him, "Why don't you go ahead and go home? Have some R & R." The guy would not do it. He said, "No, I can't do that -- not when everyone is fighting and the war is going on. I couldn't do that in good conscience." He slept right at David's door. David was probably thinking, "How can I get rid of this guy?" Therefore, David planned a scheme in order to get rid of him. He sent a message back to Joab, and Joab put him in the front of the battle so he would be killed. What is the attitude of Uriah the Hittite? Notice his devotion and commitment to the king and to the cause for which he was willing to give his life. In the natural, when you sign up for the military, you sign up to give your life. You are saying, "I will give my life for my country. If the country requires my life, I must give it." That is also the commitment of a good soldier of Jesus Christ. God commands it.
Second: God supplies armor sufficient for the battle. The army of God is the best armed army there is. We have superior weapons. Isn't it shameful to see an army retreat when they have superior weapons? It is a disgrace to the defending soldiers of Christ because Christ gives us everything we need in order to win. He gives us all the power we need to resist the devil at every turn. He gives us His grace. He gives us the resources of heaven. Yet, so many turn and run or surrender. It does not make sense. It is like trying to make sense out of Adam and Eve. They were in the garden that is full of things to eat, and God told them not to eat of that one tree. They did not eat from that tree because they were hungry. They had plenty to eat. God had made an ample supply so that they would not be tempted to sin, but they still did.
God has given us an ample supply to be victorious, to be overcomers, to win, so why in the world do we not use those resources? Why do we surrender, and why do we run? It does not make sense, but we still do it. The provision is there. We have the resources of heaven to come to our aid. God supplies us with sufficient armor for the battle so that we have no excuse.
Third: Christians can rely on the fact that resisting the enemy is always safer. Do you want to know the safest place to be? The safest thing will always be to resist, not to run. God provides armor to protect Christians while they are fighting. There is no armor to protect while fleeing or retreating. Stand, and the day is yours. Run, flee, or yield, and it is lost.
History is filled with many great generals who have cut off their ways of retreat -- burning bridges or burning boats. William the Conqueror was one of these. Cortez did the same thing. His armies must have been wondering how they would get home. They must have realized they would now have to fight.
The Christian faith is strong when we resist. God does not make provision for cowards. Is there any armor for our backs? There is a measure of protection in the back, but it is the most vulnerable area. It is only exposed when running away -- when not facing the enemy.
Hebrews 10:38 says, "For my righteous one shall live by faith. And if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." What would you rather face -- dying in the heat of the battle for the sake of the Lord, or being shot for being a coward by retreating? The result is going to be the same whether for the kingdom or against it. Your safety relies on your resistance.
Fourth: The enemy is only overcome by force when you resist. James 4:7 says, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Submit to God -- that is the first part. You cannot do the second part until you do the first. Resist the devil. It did not say compromise with the devil. It did not say a little give-and-take. Resist the devil and he will flee. If you don't resist, will he flee? No. If you do not resist, the devil will think, "Pushover -- victim--easy meat. I'm going for this guy." Your protection is in resisting, and the way he is defeated is in your resistance.
The Lord wants you to change your mentality today. He wants you to recognize the war that you are in, and understand that your safety and your protection will come as you put on what you need, and as you go after the enemy. If you don't, he will come after you. God wants to encourage you by letting you know that if you will stay there and be firm, and not give up or quit, God's resources will come through for you. He will give you whatever you need. When the dust settles, you will still be standing. So, suit up. You do not escape the battle today. Come. Did you put on the armor today? If not, God said to do it, and whenever we don't do what God says to do, we call that sin. We need to confess that to God. If you have not been putting it on or walking it out, right now have a confession time between you and God. Tell Him that you are sorry. Confess it as sin right now. Just tell the Lord that you want to stand in the heat of the battle. You want to stand when it gets worse. You want to stand when things are falling in on you.