The Bible does not hide the reality that life is hard, that we will face times of tragedy, and that we will experience attacks from the Evil One. We should not be surprised that temptations, trials, and struggles are a normal part of life.
Those of us who follow Jesus should be prepared to face these difficult times. We know that they are coming, and even if they are not a part of our lives in the moment, we know someone who is experiencing them right now.
It is essential that we get prepared, but we don't know what to do!
God in His wonderful grace and mercy has not left us to fend for ourselves.
He has given us the equipment we need to stand strong regardless of our circumstances!
The apostle Paul wrote:
Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil...Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. (Ephesians 6:11 and 13; NLT)
During difficult times we are commanded to stand firm.
How do we do that? How is it possible to stand firm in the face of adversity and struggle?
There are two truths we need to remember.
- We need to remember that we are not alone. When Paul wrote this letter, he was not appealing to them to stand firm as individuals, rather to stand firm as a group. The image of “standing firm” and “God’s armor” would have created the picture of the Roman Army. The Romans were able to conquer the world by standing together. With shields linked and lances out Rome invited the opposing army to break themselves on their collective strength. That is what we are to do. One of the reasons being part of a church family is important is because we can support one another when the going gets tough. We cannot stand strong on our own.
- We need to remember that God provides. Paul wrote that we are to put on God’s armor. He provides what we need for protection. This was in contrast to being part of Rome’s army, which made you purchase your own armor. We can stand firm in confidence because we know that God has given us the equipment that we need. Yes, we need to learn to use it and use it at the correct time, but it is not something we have to go looking for. God has provided it for us.
The way we get through difficult times and the way we resist Satan, is by standing firm.
By standing firm we are able to hold back the full extent of evil that Satan wants to bring into the world. We may feel like the Gospel isn’t advancing like it should, but we need to remember that when we stand firm in the face of evil, we are still proclaiming the Gospel.
Advancing the Gospel isn’t just about evangelism and converts. It is also about opposing evil and remaining firm in the face of adversity. By standing firm we keep Satan from reclaiming territory and we frustrate his attempt to halt the movement of Jesus.
Live with hope!
When we are united together we become an unstoppable force that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against.