No Running

Not a bad epitaph
Wanted: A Point of Reference

 

No RunningIn the English Standard Version of the Bible, at least nine times we are told to “stand firm.” The implication is that there is battle to be enjoined and there should be no thought of running. The metaphor makes sense, to stand firm in a battle in Biblical times would make the difference between life and death. The soldier’s weapons only protect him when he is facing the enemy. To turn his back would be suicide.

In 21st Century America, it is right for Christians to reach out to the increasingly larger unbelieving segment of the population. However, to do so, there is temptation to accommodate the teaching of the church to popular wisdom to broaden the church’s appeal. There is pressure to run from what are seen as controversial or antiquated teachings of Christianity. This we cannot do, we must stand firm on the clear teaching of Scripture regardless of the pressure brought to bear by the culture at large.

When things get difficult I am tempted to run. When trouble comes, I want to question whether I am following God’s will. When it’s hard, I am tempted to find a smoother road. It is easier to run somewhere else than to stand on conviction and face the consequences.

I am tempted to run when criticism comes my way. I am likely to run away from my sense of what is right and best, in order to keep people happy. Yet, the best course of action is to stand firm in my conviction while being open to hearing from God.

The statements and commands regarding standing firm are evidence to me that I am not alone in this struggle. So for the benefit of all of us who are tempted to run, here are some of the times we are told to stand firm in the New Testament:

  • 1 Corinthians 16:13– Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong
  • Galatians 5:1– For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore . . .
  • Ephesians 6:13– Therefore take up the whole armor of God . . . . to stand firm
  • Philippians 4:1– stand firm thus in the Lord
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15– stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught by us
  • 1 Peter 5:12 – Stand firm in [the true grace of God']

My job is to stand, even when it is scary or difficult to do so. Based on these Scriptures, I believe that running is not an option.

Fortunately, there are two things on which I can rely as I seek to stand firm. The first is the Holy Spirit who is given to us to provide wisdom and strength. The second is Scripture which provides guidance and certainty as to God’s revealed will.

With these two sources of certainty, I can aspire to emulate Martin Luther when he said:

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen

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Mark McIntyre

A follower of Jesus Christ who shares observations about how Scripture should impact the church and the world. Mark is the original author and editor of Attempts at Honesty.
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Not a bad epitaph
Wanted: A Point of Reference
About Mark McIntyre

A follower of Jesus Christ who shares observations about how Scripture should impact the church and the world. Mark is the original author and editor of Attempts at Honesty.

1 comments
scott kelly
scott kelly

Charles Stanley lists the following phrase as one of his top five most important life lessons: "Trust God and leave all the consequences to Him." While much easier said than done, I've found in my brief experience as a Christian that my confidence to stand firm grows each time I do it, despite the immediate outcome. This must be supernatural because, usually, the outcome is scorn, mockery, alienation, etc. For example, I recently had a "falling out" with a childhood friend over our conflicting beliefs about God and the afterlife. My desire was to convey biblical truth to him in a tactful, effective, and loving way and still somehow salvage our dwindling relationship. It seems (at least for now) that alienation has indeed been the result. At first I thought this to be a significant loss, but upon reflection, my current position is one of satisfaction for "standing firm" on the veracity of God's Word. It is our duty as ambassadors to cling to scripture as our foundation and rely on the Holy Spirit for strength. If I have lost a "friend" over my convictions, it is worth it. I seek to be a more trustworthy steward of truth and become more bold in declaring Jesus as Lord to anyone He puts in my path...even if it hurts and I estrange some people along the way. You can't please everyone, right? I just want to please God.

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  1. From the archives: No Running http://t.co/khvv5hOtWA
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