Thursday, September 29, 2011

At War- Standing Firm

I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
 Remember that great scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf stands on the bridge and faces the Balroc?
 With a fierce energy and passionate voice he stands firm and shouts, "You cannot pass. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass."

There is a part of spiritual warfare that we often miss and that is the art of 'standing firm'. Holding to- clinging to- not wavering. It is holding against the storm, resolute and unwavering.

We see this in Scripture- Jacob clinging to the Lord, "I will not let you go until you bless me". Jesus setting His face toward the cross for the joy set before Him, Paul finishing the course, Shaddrach, Meshach, and Adendego saying the Lord will deliver us, but even if He doesn't, we will not bow before you O King.". It is a mindset that says, "Though the whole world leave and forsake the Lord, I will yet stand."
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
I think there a couple of application points to this:

Perseverance- we have to get tougher and learn to dig in and stand firm when momentum swings against us.We tend to relent way too early in the game. Think of a goal line defense. We teach the defensive linemen to get low and hunker down. Go low and grab grass and push with all you have. Is there anything more exciting than a defense holding on a 4th and 1? Pushed back all the way down the field, but holding the other team out creates great energy and momentum. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

How many more marriages would survive with this mindset?- 'I'm going to endure a little longer and see if the tide may turn- Lord, help me.'

In the Book of Revelation- 5 of the 7 churches are not getting good marks from Jesus. He says to them, 'repent'. These churches have become loveless, distracted, materialistic, and full of false teachers and immorality. Yet, nowhere in the 7 letters does the Lord say to the believers.. "Leave and go find a better church."

No- He indicates to stay, repent, and strengthen the things that remain.

This is my final post of the series 'AT WAR'- but I will tell you that I have never seen Satan more visible in His assault on the faith. I have the largest prayer list in 25+ years of keeping such lists.

Financial hardships, job loss, cancer, disease, divorce, false rumors and gossip, immorality, drunkenness or substance abuse, pain, regret, quarreling, apathy, laziness, selfishness. At times, it almost feels like Satan has been set loose as found in Rev. 20:7. We have brothers and sisters in real pain and dire circumstances. We need to pray and love and serve.

But the message never changes..... STAND FIRM.
Tell the Devil.... YOU SHALL NOT PASS

And the result of that kind of faith and that kind of fight? "Your labor in the Lord is NOT IN VAIN."

And what about when we fail and fall? There is good news in the gospel. It matters not if you try and fail and try and fail again- what matters is if you try and fail... and fail to try again.

May God's grace and peace keep us steady in the storm! It's a glorious day to battle in the joy of the Lord!

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