There’s an old saying that goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Over the years, my own adapted version of this quote has resounded in my soul: “Stand for Christ or fall for anything.” It has continued to press on me preparing to write this devotional. We live in a world where people aren’t afraid to use their voices. (Just spend five seconds on any social media platform.) It’s hard to fathom that with such courage of conviction we still give in so easily to the pressures of this world. We are called to be a light in a very dark world. We are called to stand out. We should be examples of Christ. I think this could be the part we often leave out. What is our life illuminating, and when we stand out, who is it that is seen?
If I try to insert myself in the numerous moments of faith displayed throughout the Bible, I wonder if I would have responded the way so many of our examples of faith did. Would I have pledged my trust, faith, and commitment to God and God alone, just as…
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did, even to the point of being thrown in a flaming furnace?
- Daniel did, and still displayed courage in the lion’s den?
- Noah did in building the ark because God said to, even with no evidence of rain?
- Abraham did when laying his own son Isaac on the altar?
- Elijah did, pouring gallons of water over an altar making it impossible to burn?
- the friends that carried their incapacitated brother on a mat to Jesus, even carving through a roof?
- the hemorrhaging woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s robe?
These are just some of the examples we know of when people acted on their faith. Each and every time, God was faithful. Would my trust in him be strong enough in those moments?
Have you ever thought about the privilege we have in God’s word? I think in so many ways, the faith of those in the Bible was stronger than mine might ever be. We have evidence that God makes the impossible possible. We have countless examples of his unwavering faithfulness and unconditional love. The people in the Bible didn’t have it to read, much less all of the resources we have today right at our fingertips to learn more about the Lord and grow in our relationship with him. We have total access to God himself, the truth of who he is, and unbelievable evidence to prove that he will always come through, yet we still somehow doubt and fail to truly use our voices.
So, how do we stand strong in the Lord? How do we keep from falling to the pressures of this world? I know first and foremost, we need a relationship with him. This is more than just accepting Jesus as our Savior. Salvation is a precious gift of redemption and eternal life with Jesus, but it is where my relationship begins. It’s only the start. For my relationship with God to grow, I have to choose to learn more about him, spend time with him, invest in what will draw me closer to him and also discern and walk away from things that distract me from God and that don’t line up with the truth of who he is. How great my faith would be if upon every single decision I made, I only pursued what would strengthen my relationship with God! God allows me the freedom to choose, and not only that, He also blesses me with the guide of the Holy Spirit that prompts me with peace to know the steps and path to take to walk with Jesus. God will ever be the author of confusion, so in times when I couldn’t seem to find Him, know where to turn, or hear His voice, I’ve had to just stop and be still because in those times, I chose to go on some sort of auto pilot and trust myself instead of seeking God and truly listening to him.
The day to day in our relationship with Jesus looks a little different for each of us, but to stand strong in the Lord, I have to spend time with him, spend time in his word, as well as invest in what pleases him and reflects the characteristics of him. If I allow anything in my life that fails to align with this, I’m the one that has moved and allowed his power in me to lessen, not God.
So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.
— Joshua 24:15 NLT
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
— Philippians 4:6–8 ESV
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
— Philippians 4:13 NKJV
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
— Exodus 14:14 NIV
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
— Proverbs 3:5–6 MSG
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
— Hebrews 12:1–3 NLT