Stand Firm, Pt. 2

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 says, “12Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
The first warning 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 concerning temptation is, “Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” In other words, do not think you have grown too big to be tempted and sin, that you are untouchable. If Saul, David, Solomon, Samson, Peter all fell into temptation and sinned, then we are more than capable of doing the same. Peter thought for sure when talking to Jesus that he would go all the way to the grave for Him, but Christ knew that Peter was not ready or willing just yet, but rather that he would deny Him three times before the cock crew. We are never too big to sin because we are human, but God will always make a way of escape, a detour route out of temptation. Because certain men of God fell when they were tempted does not mean that we are without a choice, that we will most definitely sin everyday of our lives. I know Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” but when God saved Paul, you never read in Scripture we he sinned everyday afterwards. Instead, Paul concealed himself for three years in the mountains of Arabia, where God would give Paul outstanding revelations. Can you imagine being away from everyone in the world you have ever known and be consecrated by yourself to God for three years? Leonard Ravenhill said, “A praying man does not sin, and a sinning man does not pray.” How can you sin when you are in prayer? How can you meditate on God’s Word and still sin? It is impossible for the human mind to think two thoughts at the same time. So, when you are in prayer or meditation on God and His Word, then you cannot sin and will be able to overcome in every temptation.
One lesson that can be learned is from what Bruce Wilkinson said in the Prayer of Jabez book, “It is a lot easier to avoid temptation than it is to beat it.” If you struggle with pornography, limit your time or spend no time on the computer so that you can avoid the temptation. If you struggle sexual activity with a boyfriend or girlfriend, never be in the same bed with them all alone. If alcohol is a strong temptation for you, refuse to hang around those old friends who drink all the time. Regardless of what temptations comes, avoiding it is the better solution than trying to beat it, especially if it is a struggle for your life!
You will battle with temptations and troubles in life, but what matters is that you stand unmovable and unshakeable in your faith in God. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” We cannot be rocked to sleep in the arms of Delilah, but we must be awake, watching and standing fast in the faith. We must be brave and courageous, strong not in ourselves, but in our King! We must understand that God would not tell us to be strong or stand in all of His armor if we were not going to go through some things, but everything He instructs us in is to prepare us for what is out ahead. 2 Timothy 2:3, 4 says, “3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” If God commands us to endure hardness as a good soldier for our commander-in-chief, Jesus Christ, then hard times will come and go. The key, though, is endurance. We must foresee the victory that is out ahead before it ever takes place. It is what enables us to endure. If we are distracted and entangled with the web of the affairs of life, we will slack in pleasing the God who has enlisted us as one of His soldiers. That entanglement can be present domestic issues, past sins or temptations, sickness or even death, but we cannot fight for God and defend His name when the devil has us twisted in his web of destruction and is sucking the life right out of us! Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Once we have experienced the saving grace of Almighty God and freedom by His precious Spirit from every sin and addiction, we are to stand fast in our liberty and be not entangled again with our past. We are to forget those things which are behind and press towards the mark of the prize of the high calling. Where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is freedom, and once His presence and Spirit covers you, you can function in that freedom. We cannot be entangled or distracted by anything going on in our lives to where we are carrying such a yoke of bondage that we cannot focus on God and do His perfect will.
It reminds me of when Peter was on the boat, able and willing to step out and walk on the water to Jesus. As long as he was focused on Jesus as good soldier, he was able to walk on top of things that most people would normally sink in. However, the closer he got, the stronger the storm became, and when his focus shifted from Jesus to the storm, he began to sink. Then, he cried immediately back out to Jesus, saying, “Lord, save me.” Immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? He was the only that had the courage to step out of the boat from the other “disciples,” yet he sank, and God questioned his faith. If you are that close to Jesus, and the Spirit of God covers your life, why allow doubt to drown out your faith? Faith will keep your eyes on the LORD and not be distracted with everything else that is going on around you. In 2 Corinthians 1:24, Paul said, “By faith, you stand.” The only way to stand is by faith, and the only way to grow in faith is by prayer. The best way to stand is on your knees in prayer! Prayer changes things, and it also changes people (Leonard Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries?”). If you want to stand in faith, persevere in prayer. Pray without ceasing!
In order to stand in faith, we must be equipped with the whole armor of God. We cannot forget one piece of God’s armor. It can produce a dramatic impact with a ton of regret! I cannot go to battle against the enemy with faith but without God’s Word, or with salvation but with the preparation of the gospel of peace. I must be equipped with all of His armor if I want to be more than conquerors through Him who loves us!
Out of all this armor that you must be equipped with if you want to be more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ, notice that there is no armor for your back. The reason is because you are not suppose to turn your back to the devil. If you allow negativity, doubt and lies to enter into your spiritual senses, and never anything positive or of God, you will never go into battle with the helmet of salvation. We are called on a mandate to stand toe-to-toe with the devil, against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places, not run away in fear. It is easy for one of his fiery darts of temptation to pierce us when we surrender and run in fear. We must stand in boldness and faith in our God!
Spiritually, this armor is what you must be equipped with if you want to overcome. But I do believe the enemy has a counterfeit armor of lust that many try to wear, like Saul’s armor. David could not overcome wearing Saul’s armor or wearing half Saul’s armor and half God’s armor. He had to be fully equipped with what he was accustomed to using so that he could prevail! You can try to put on the belt of lies, the breastplate of sin, feet shod with the preparation of the bad news of worry, the shield of doubt, the helmet of destruction, the sword of the devil, which is the word of gossip, and the lance of prayerlessness, but all it will lead to is horrible defeat. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.