That’s all it says. I’d like for it to say something more. Something more powerful. Something cooler. But it doesn’t. It just says stand.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 (ESV)
In the Robert Duval’s movie The Apostle, a character preaches a sermon about Jesus doing a backflip on the devil. Wouldn’t it sound better if Paul promised Christians that they would be able to do that or some other crazy move on the devil.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to do jiu-jitsu on the devil and fire off a few rounds from your rifle into his schemes.
But the Bible doesn’t say that.
It just says stand.
Since when does standing give us that feeling of victory that all believers want in matters of spiritual warfare?
A closer look shows us that there is more than meets the eye to the type of standing Paul is referring to. We aren’t told to simply hang out against the devil like a bunch of kids standing outside of the laundromat. This type of standing has more to do with resistance than loitering.
As I write this I am looking at that iconic picture of a Chinese man standing alone in front of a column of tanks. He’s known as Tank Man or Unknown Rebel. Later on that day, if someone were to ask him what he did, he could have simply said, “Just stood around.” And he wouldn’t be lying. But he wouldn’t be telling the whole story. Standing doesn’t get enough credit.
Here’s what Paul is saying to us when he says that we can, “stand against the schemes of the devil.” Because of who we are in Christ, when Satan comes at us with every tactic, scheme, temptation and lie, we can remain standing. When all of his guns finally stop firing and he is left with no other fiery darts to throw our way, we will still be standing.
But it won’t be because of our strength or might. Only Christ’s strength gives us what we need in order to remain standing. Remember, we are told to put on the armor of God, not the armor of self-confidence.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Ephesians 6:10 (ESV)
If you devote your life to living in obedience to Jesus Christ you can be certain that Satan will send a column of tanks your way. For the most part, he’ll leave the porn addict, the gossiper and the self-righteous pew dweller alone. Most of his work on them has been done. It’s all just maintenance at this point. He’s saving the heavy duty weapons for the man who takes seriously his job of leading his family and serving his church. He’s coming with full force for the woman who spends more time serving than gossiping and complaining. Count on it.
But here’s something else that you can count on.
In Christ, you will not fall. In Christ, you will stand against your enemy the devil.
So leave the backflips and spiritual jiu-jitsu to Jesus. That was done at the cross and empty tomb. And because of that, your job is simple.
All you have to do is stand.
When you are tempted to look where you shouldn’t look, stand.
When you are tempted to say what you shouldn’t say, stand.
When you are tempted to believe what isn’t true, stand.
But remember this.
You do not stand alone. Your conquering Savior is holding you up the entire time.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:8-10 (ESV)