Have you noticed how easy it is to be caught up in the stress of always striving, seeking to accomplish something?
It represents struggle or fighting for something. And there is no question there are more than one or two principles, values, and causes that are worth fighting for or on behalf of, but in our Christian experience have we balanced out when we are to cease from that?
Everywhere I look struggles are in abundance. So much in our lives and world is being shaken. We can easily be thrown off balance and our natural instincts kick in and we either flee or fight.
The key we must not lose goes to the foundation of our Christian walk and what informs the decisions we make as we live in the world while seeking to be not of the world as God’s sons and daughters.
I often hear that we need to stand in the midst of all that swirls around us. We are reminded our foundation is not to be on sand, but on the Rock which is Christ, the Lord.
It reminds me of one of those books I read long ago, the little gem by Watchman Nee entitled Sit, Walk, Stand, that focuses on truths from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
In less than 65 pages, he lays down the foundational principles Paul lays out as succinctly as anything I have read. If you have read it, you know what I mean. If you have never read it, put it on your book list.
Our difficulty of standing in the midst of challenge and trial is perhaps because we have not first learned to sit as Watchman Nee makes clear. Standing suggests we are in conflict or warfare and we cannot consider warfare unless we have first learned to truly rest in Christ, in who He is, and what He has done for us and already accomplished on the cross and through resurrection.
When we can sit and rest in that truth, we have greater clarity on the reality of the victory that was already accomplished and yet will be accomplished for the rest of all time.
That gives us the beginning of clarity on what it means to cease striving. If we get caught up in constant striving, I am not so sure the enemy is not gleeful when he senses we are not certain that Christ’s sacrifice has counted for much of anything.
Have we also lost sight of the Holy Spirit within us to lead, guide, comfort, and empower us?
I am not suggesting there are not attacks of the enemy from a broad range of options available to him, but rather if we rightly discern what is an assault from him and what is a consequence of some poor choice or failure in our own lives. Our discernment is key
Nee makes clear that if we have a solid understanding of our position with the Lord that we will be able to learn how to walk with Him before the world. In Ephesians Paul makes clear we are to put on the whole armor of God so we can stand against the wiles of the devil. Paul doesn’t suggest at that point that we are to march into battle, but rather to stand. Am I, are you, remembering why Paul exhorts believers to do that? (It is key to the foundation that leads to cessation of striving.)
Watchman Nee puts it this way:
“The word ‘stand’ implies that the ground disputed by the enemy is really His, and therefore ours. We need not struggle to gain a foothold on it.”From Sit, Walk, Stand
The weapons Paul writes about in Ephesians 6 are by and large defensive except for the sword that can be used both defensively and offensively. That gives a metaphor for the truth that we have the ground because of Him.
We are not, I am not, trying to get the ground if He dwells within us or me. Jesus took the war to the enemy at the cross and defeated him there. That is what allows us to know and be assured that we can stand. Additionally, it tells us that the Lord is counting on us to stand with the help of the Holy Spirit and not be shaken as the world around us starts to come apart.
Consider Paul’s words:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV)
Is what the Lord has called us to do easy? Absolutely not!! But He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit and we are to depend on Him. And that is as it should be.