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1/9/13 at 10:51 AM 1 Comments

Standing in a Culture of Escape

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By Michael Kelley

Stand isn’t a very exciting word, is it?

It’s not nearly as exciting as words like run, or play, or jog, or jump, or even fight. These words are active; they’re about motion and progress. They’re about quick movements made with purpose in mind, but standing is stationary. It’s the kind of thing that most any old person can do because it’s just any old action. And yet there’s something that stirs in my heart at the mention of the word in a spiritual context.

I get a picture in my mind. It’s a picture of strength and stability. It’s a vision of quiet confidence and certain security. It’s an image of determination and assurance. In the Christian world, we really like the words of action, and we should. Paul did. He told us to run. To fight. To train. But he also told us to stand:

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore…” (Ephesians 6:10-14).

Funny that in this passage standing doesn’t sound too passive. It sounds fortified and intentional. It takes armor to stand, and then when you have stood, to still stand.

We live in a culture that doesn’t like standing; we live in a culture that likes escaping. People escaping to amusement, fathers escaping responsibility, mothers escaping boredom, employees escaping the daily grind – it’s a culture bent on escape. Through the crowd of those running from responsibility comes the simple call: “Stand.”

It’s not a glamorous call, but neither is it a complicated one. It’s a call that is fleshed out in a myriad of ways every single day:

When you don’t want to stay in a marriage that is dissatisfying, stand.

When it would be easier to simply turn on the TV rather than take an active interest in your children, stand.

When the preschool needs another worker at church, stand.

When the jokes and coarse humor are being spouted at work, stand.

When you don’t want to confront the injustice in the world and instead close the garage door every night, stand.

There will be chances to run today, friends. They will be chances to escape rather than to remain. But today is the day to stand. And a funny thing starts to happen. When you stand in the small ways, instead of escaping, when the attack finally does come in force, you’ll be all the more accustomed to staying put right where you are.

Michael Kelley is a Bible study editor at  Lifeway Christian Resources and blogs at Michael Kelley Ministries.

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