Take a stand and don’t give up!

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

It has been said that God is not looking for Christians who can run fast; He is looking for Christians who can stand fast.  He is looking for those who can stand true and remain faithful even when the battle is over and the smoke has cleared.

In my opinion, we do not realize what it is that God truly desires from us. God is not looking for Christians who can do spiritual cartwheels, jump pews, swing from chandeliers, or do any number of other things. Not that any of those things are wrong in themselves. However,  God is looking for people who will stand firm and stand up for the Lord Jesus Christ.

A great example of this is found in Daniel 3 which tells the story of three brave young men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These three boys loved the God wholeheartedly.  It came to pass that a law was passed that all citizens would have to bow down and worship a golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar.  These three young men did not initiate a violent demonstration.  They did not even carry out an intense protest.  What they did, however, was far more successful. When everyone else bowed down, they stood up.  However, because they took a stand for God, war was waged against them.

Some Christians are afraid to take a stand because they have the mentality, “Well, if I stand for the Lord, I’ll make enemies.”  And that is certainly true.  However, true Christian soldiers are willing to take a daring stand instead of making a habit of straddling the fence.

There is only one of two things a soldier can do when the fight becomes intense.  He can advance or retreat. The only reason a soldier ever retreats is out of fear.  However, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).  If you will go back and look over this armor, you will find there is not one piece of armor for the back of a Christian.  Now why is that?  Because God’s soldiers are never to run from the devil; they are to resist the devil.

“Gentleman Jim” Corbett was an Irish-American heavyweight boxing champion who held the title for five years at the end of the nineteenth century and is best known as the only man who ever defeated the great John L. Sullivan..

He once said, “Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the center of the ring, fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round-remembering that the man who fights one more round is never whipped.”

Let me encourage you to always fight one more round! On Calvary’s cross, God stood between you and your sin. Why do you doubt that He can also stand between you and your circumstances? If you have faith that He has brought you up out of sin, why can’t you have faith that He can safely keep that which you’ve committed to Him, and carry you through to journey’s end?

When disappointment occurs, we must try again. When we are knocked down, we must get back up. When we fall behind in the race we must continue the race to obtain the prize. Regardless of how tall our opposition is, we must resist the devil and not waver in our service to God. We must complete the challenge issued by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:58 when he stated, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

The One Thing You Must Do Today!

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:13-14) 

The Holy Spirit used the Apostle Paul to comprise fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. To say he is the most recognizable name of the New Testament, outside of Jesus, would not be a stretch. As a result, if Paul said there is one thing that he consistently did, I think it is worth us examining. He would go on to say that that one thing was forgetting the past and embracing the future.

 

Many Christians today are living a defeated life with a mind that has not been renewed because they will not let go of their past. It not only resides in their mind but it defines who they are. This is why Jesus made the powerful statement in Luke 9:62 “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” To look back is to hold on to a memory rather than claim the promises and blessing found in Christ Jesus.  Looking back means that what’s important is what happened and not what will happen.

 

My oldest son, Alex, decided he wanted to help me mow the grass recently. The lawn mower we used is large and self-propelled. Alex was only seven years old and weighed only forty eight pounds. However, when he was mowing the small piece I gave him he was doing well. The only exception is when he begin to look back at me.  Whenever he would look back, he would lose control of the mower. Instead of pushing the mower, it was pulling him and pulling him in the wrong direction. 

 

As Christians, when we look back, we are pulled off course just like the mower did to my seven year old son. Letting go of the past is not going to be easy. However, it is needed and can be achieved when we follow God’s word. I will talk more in-depth about how to let go of the past in step four. Until then, I want to list a few common areas of our past that hinder our mind renewal.  

Past sin- If you are a Christian, your past sins are irrelevant. The Bible declares “therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”(II Corinthians 5:17 NASB) Our slates have been wiped fully clean and we have now been given a brand new start in Christ. God removes you sins as far as the east is from the west. (Psalms 103:12) You have been freed from the sentence of death and should not walk in condemnation any longer. (Romans 8:1). 

Past hurt- The Bible is very clear on this matter, stating “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Colossians 3:13 NASB) We are not commanded to forgive people to make the offender feel better about themselves. Instead, we are commanded to forgive, because, if we don’t, it will pollute our relationships with God and people. Letting go of the past does not mean we condone the offenders actions or restore instant trust back into the relationship. It just means that our relationship with God is more important than our past issues with the offender.  

Past failures- Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. Sometimes we step out on faith and it does not work out the way we thought that it would. That is okay. Failure does not have to be final for the believer. II Corinthians 4:8-9 encourages us with the words “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”  Don’t allow your failed adventures of the past to hinder the brightness of your future. Remember, God is the only one who has been right every time.