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.
Ephesians 6:13 ESV
What does it mean to stand firm?
I was reading Ephesians and came across this verse and started thinking about what it means to stand firm. I pictured a tree with hurricane winds blowing against it and it stands there unmovable. Sure, it sways back and forth and never gets uprooted, but I felt like it wasn’t a completely accurate picture. I felt like there was a better picture of what standing firm is. I asked God what it means to stand firm and, a few days later, He put a picture in my mind of Paul and Silas in prison.
Is standing firm a passive act or an active act?
Acts 16:25 says Paul and Silas were singing and praising hymns to God. In the prior verses, Paul cast a demon out of a woman slave and her owners saw their income go away. The owners had Paul and Silas arrested, and they beat and threw them into the inner prison.
They could have whispered to each other and encouraged each other, and that would have been passive. Instead, they sang songs of praise and worship to God, and the other prisoners heard them. That was actively standing firm and, I would even say, aggressively standing firm. They praised God, and the earthquake opened the prison doors, allowing them to leave and taking the jailer with them. Their aggressive stance saved the jailer and his household.
What other examples from the Bible are there?
Imagine Noah building the Ark. The Ark took decades to build, and Noah had to put up with derision and mockery from people. But he knew what God told him to do, and he kept building.
Joseph actively stood firm when he behaved in a way that brought glory and honor to God. His situation probably discouraged him, but he continued praising God with his actions. He didn’t take the fleeting pleasure of a moment with Potiphar’s wife, but he fled and kept himself pure before God.
Daniel stood firm when he wouldn’t pray to King Darius. They threw him in the lion’s den but came out unharmed, and they threw all his accusers into the lion’s den.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood firm when they wouldn’t bow down to a false god. King Nebuchadnezzar threw them into a fiery furnace, but God delivered them. They came out without the smell of smoke on their clothes and brought glory and honor to God.
Job lost everything, but he didn’t curse God like his wife wanted him to. Sure, he questioned things. Who wouldn’t in that situation? But he kept his faith in God and refused to blame God.
In the New Testament, Stephen stood firm even when he was being stoned. Who knows how many people who witnessed his stoning were moved by his unshakable faith?
Despite denying Jesus and not being firm in his faith when Jesus was crucified, Peter held strong when he was put to death for his faith. He asked to be crucified upside down because he wasn’t worthy to be crucified the way Jesus was. In death, he stood firm in his faith.
Jesus stood firm
How did Jesus stand firm? He could have called legions of angels to deliver Him, but He knew His purpose. Instead of calling all the angels to deliver Him and leave us in our sins, He stood firm in His faith in God’s plan for us, and let Himself be crucified so we could be delivered. Then, hanging on the cross after suffering so horribly, He asks God to forgive the people. He denied deliverance for Himself so we could have deliverance.
It’s not always in dire situations we need to stand firm
When things are going well, it’s easy to forget where our blessings come from. We may think we’ve done it on our own. Those situations require us to stand firm as well. We believe in ourselves and think how good we are. Sometimes those situations require an even more aggressive approach to standing firm in your faith.
It’s in those situations I need to remind myself to be firm in my faith in Him and not myself.
I think there is something about being in a dire situation and singing praise and worship songs to God. When the situation looks totally hopeless, but you still praise God. It shows an aggressive, unshakable faith.
We can say the same for when things are going well. Keep thanking and praising God for all His blessings. It keeps us from thinking too highly of ourselves.
Let’s be aggressive in standing firm.