Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
In ancient biblical times Elijah faced the same erosion. He felt completely overwhelmed and in a desperate moment uttered the words, “I and only I am left.” In the battle he had been overcome by the continual passiveness of God’s people toward evil that left him emotional and spiritually exhausted. I believe the apostle Paul faced the same thing in Roman culture. His message was revolutionary and new. The Christians were proclaiming Jesus is Lord which put them in direct conflict with the culture’s view that Caesar is lord. In that battle for the hearts of people, Paul reminded the believers to having done all, stand.
The metaphor is that of a soldier. As a soldier we are to be “battle hardened”. The position that we take is one of mental and spiritual strength that causes us to stand and not abandon our position of Jesus being Lord. That also remains true in our culture today. We, as Christians, remain salt and light. No matter how insignificant we may feel in a world of changing values we remain the same. In 2 Corinthians 4:8&9 Paul talks more explicitly about the nature of the battle. He says we are pressed on every side, but are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. We are persecuted, but not abandoned. We are struck down, but not destroyed.
Paul definitely encouraged a triumphal viewpoint. He was saying no matter what the pressure, it will not defeat us. No matter how confusing, it will not discourage us. No matter how much opposition, it will not stop us, and blows against us will not destroy us. J.B. Phillips says it this way, “Knocked down, but not knocked out.” In our standing for Christ in a confused culture we need to remind ourselves of Paul’s strong affirmation: not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, and not destroyed.
In conclusion let us on this Thanksgiving weekend celebrate our Christian heritage and culture. Let it be marked by one of the attributes of Christ in thanksgiving.