“A small change can make a big difference. You are the only one who can make our world a better place to inhabit. So, don’t be afraid to take a stand.” -Ankita Singhai
Many people seek to better their lives by leaving, changing, swapping, or modifying their commitments. But, God’s Word holds up a beautiful value that, while difficult, leads to deep satisfaction and great reward: endurance. It requires that we take a stand in our faith journey and remain firm to the end.
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” – 1 Timothy 6:11
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13
“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.” – Ephesians 6:13
Ask God to speak to you as you meditate on the above verses by answering these questions:
1. What are these verses telling us?
2. What application do these verses have on my life?
3. What commands are there in these verses?
In this week’s message, we talked about the stand that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego took when asked to bow down to idols. But for this blog, I would like to outline another biblical story of someone taking a stand. That person is Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph was the man who buried Jesus. John 19:38 tells us: “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.” The facts were that he was a secret disciple of Jesus, but his fear of the Jews prevented him from taking a stand, even though he knew that he should have.
But now, Jesus is dead and His followers are hiding. Joseph gathered up his courage (Mark 15:43), and “went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body” so that he could give Him a proper burial. Joseph had nothing to gain and everything to lose by identifying himself with Jesus at this point in time. Jesus was dead and no one was expecting His resurrection. It would have been easier for Joseph to think this through and come to the conclusion that “Jesus was a good man and a prophet of God. It’s sad that this happened in such a grim manner, but life goes on. It will be better if I don’t cause waves or bring unnecessary attention on myself.” But in spite of the risks, Joseph came out of hiding and took a strong stand for Jesus by providing Him a proper burial. He gives us an example of taking a stand for Jesus in this hostile world.
No one knows why Joseph took this stand. Luke tells us that Joseph was “a good and righteous man, who was waiting for the kingdom of God” (23:50). Maybe the deciding factor was standing at the cross and watching Jesus die. Today on Good Friday, we celebrate the cross as the center of our faith. Paul summed up the core of the gospel, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). While we cannot stand and take in the events first hand, as Joseph and the others did that day, we should come often to the foot of the cross and think about its implications. If you go there often, you will not be the same. It will strengthen you to take a stand for Christ.
So take a stand. It my not be on a grand scale, but it doesn’t matter. Take a stand by your behavior, your attitude, and your quiet resolve not to compromise. Just “show up” in the sense of siding with Jesus, even if you aren’t clear about how to defend the faith. Show your commitment and love for the Savior, and He will use you as He used Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
- How do we know when to take a bold stand and when to be more diplomatic and polite?
- How can a people-pleaser learn to become a God-pleaser?
- God is bigger than anything we will ever face in our lives. What challenge or obstacle are you currently facing that you need God’s strength to help you endure through it? Does it involve taking a stand?
- In what ways do you experience God’s presence on a daily basis?
- Pray and ask God for the wisdom and the courage for when and how to take a stand for Him.