Standing Strong

Readings: Psalm 125; I Kings 18:1-18; Ephesians 6:10-17

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Psalm 125:1

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.

Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able

to stand against the wiles of the devil…therefore take up the whole

armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day,

and having done everything, stand firm.

Ephesians 6:10, 13

Stand your ground.

Sometimes, those words are taken as an offensive posture: when fearful, fire first. But that’s not what it means in the Psalms or Ephesians. It isn’t a paraphrase of the best defense is a good offense. This is about finding the courage and the faith to endure the attacks of others without striking back or falling apart. The armor of God is worn to strengthen the self to survive with heart and soul intact, whatever may come. When surrounded by evil, when darkness threatens to overwhelm, the armor of God gives its wearer enough strength and wisdom to stand rather than cower, to hope rather than fall into despair.

Strength and aggression are not the same. True strength enables us to remain who we are – compassionate people of faith who follow a manger born savior – in the face of danger and uncertainty. It allows us to act as we believe, to return compassion for hatred and exercise restraint when threatened. Strength allows us to choose love even on a day when others choose evil.

Standing firm, remaining unmoved, withstanding. When the time of trial arrives, I’ll need the whole armor of God to do these things. Otherwise, in my weakness and fear, I just might be an agent of evil rather than a disciple of the Lord.

Hold my hand, dear Lord. Help me stand.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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