I love the study of words, digging into the meaning and checking the Thesaurus for different ways of expressing them, for example, I was reading in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 13, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day. And having done all, to stand.” Hmmm, a word that we don’t use every day, withstand, caught my attention. In this verse we know it means that we will have to take up a “battle post” to come against evil, but in looking up the meaning I got a little surprise.
I take allergy medicine when I need it as I do have sneezing attacks over dust or cats and worst of all, the beautiful spring flowers and in the fall of the year, ragweed! What is an allergy medicine called, anyone? OK, I’ll answer that for you, it is called an antihistamine. The Greek word for “withstand” is antihistemi. Compare “antistamine.” From anti, “against,” and histemi, “to cause to stand.” The verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face, or toe-to-toe against an adversary, standing your ground. Just as an antihistamine puts a block on histamine, anthistemi tells us that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to us we are able to withstand evil forces. I can be sneezing so hard that it hurts and take one little tiny white antihistamine and in a few moments my sneezing has stopped!
We have to withstand anything that comes against us so that it doesn’t just quiet down, but stops completely! The Message translation says, Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
The neat thing about putting on God’s armor, truth, peace, faith and salvation, is that one size actually fits all, not like it was when David, still a shepherd boy, going out to face Goliath. Saul tried to give him his own armor and it was sizes too big! He couldn’t see out from under the helmet and the shield was so heavy he could hardly pick it up! No, this armor fits us and protects us! It’s like running to the basement when the Doppler radar sees a tornado; I run to God and use His Words as my protection. We wear the armor to maintain our “battle-stance” and it isn’t just passive protection it is to be used offensively against Satan and his forces!
The Apostle’s final directive was “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Prayer helps us in this battle of life and God’s Word is our chief weapon to be used against Satan during our struggle!
We all face struggles every single day. Some days it feels like I don’t do anything right! I have found that there comes a time that if you know in your heart you are right, you have to trust God and go for it, no matter what anyone else says. The enemy of your soul will battle you on every side, so when he does, be happy about it, you must be doing something right else he would just leave you alone! Be encouraged, whatever your particular battle is just stand, be strong, be blessed, pray and end this year and bring in the New Year by learning how to Withstand! Merry Christmas!