Jesus Says, "Stand Up!"
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith,
act like men, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16.13 (ESV)
How much power do you suppose you would possess if you gave an order to a large audience of people to STAND UP? Would everyone listen and follow your instructions? The question is, why would they stand up for you? Was it simply because you asked them to stand? In most cases, the audience would know little about you. The audience may know you in name only, not anything else.
Christians do not know the apostle Paul personally, but they do know he was an apostle. He was inspired to speak and write. From such inspiration of God came the words of 1 Corinthians 16.13, where he says, “Stand firm in the faith.” The reason for this stand is because faith has been and is being attacked. The warning in Ephesians 6.13 bears our needed attention, where we are told, “Withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Out of all the people who have ever asked or told you to do something for them, who is greater than the one asking you to take a stand for Him today? When you ask people to stand up, it is a lot easier than the stand Jesus is asking you to take. You should stand for the simple reason others would stand for you. It is because you are asked to do so. There is a trust in the reason for which you are asked to stand. How much faith do you have to stand when Jesus asks?
It is as simple as casting a net to fish. Jesus gave a simple command to Simon in Luke 5.4: “Put out into the deep, and let down your nets and you will catch many fish.” When Simon followed those instructions, their nets were filled with so many fish, their nets tore. They called to their partners for help, and soon both boats were filled with fish. So much fish was caught, both boats began to sink.
All it took on Simon’s part was a little faith to end up being blessed with two boats that were filled to overflowing. Jesus got the response He was looking for from Simon: Faith and action. Standing up for Christ requires the same thing of us: Faith and action. Faith in Jesus is a good enough reason for us to stand up for Him. Even if it means losing some of our friends, going against what others believe, or losing a promotion to a coworker who is not bothered by certain office politics.
Christ is not going to perform a miracle in your life as He did with Peter. Jesus has already done something for all of us. He died for us. He stood up for us. He fought Satan’s power over us - DEATH. He did so without us asking Him to do it. He arose from the dead and stood up against Satan and death. Jesus stood toe-to-toe against Satan, and He exhorts us to do the same (Ephesians 6.10-18). He pleads with us to stand, for unless we stand, we cannot walk with HIm. Besides, it is really hard to walk when you are sitting, lazy, and unconcerned.
You would be standing for doctrinal, moral, and social decisions. Within each exhortation to stand is the battle against FEAR. Standing up for God can be painful, uneasy, and intimidating. It is especially difficult when the majority of those around you have the opposite view. Following Christ and His word is truth which many are not familiar with nor do many people want its correction and change in their lives. The answer to the FEAR comes from the numbers of times we stand. If we have never had to stand up for Christ, the first time we need to stand will be overwhelmingly FEARFUL. If we have had to say “No” numerous times, like Joseph (Genesis 39.7-11), the FEAR becomes more in reverence to God than it is how others respond to us. It is like having a “must have” surgery. The more it is put off, the less chance there is for success, the greater the chance of a lengthy recovery, and the increased chance of complications or death. The sooner the surgery is performed, the greater the chance of quick recovery and survival.
Standing up for God may be painful, but the pain will fade. The pain is replaced with the realization of growing closer to God in faith, giving glory to God, and gaining His favor. Think about it this way: If we do not stand up for Jesus Christ the Savior, we can sever our relationship with Him. It is the duty of the disciple to stand with His Master and not walk away (John 6.60-68).
It has always been puzzling why people would rather sit down spiritually than stand up for Christ. It is for one reason - If you are sitting, you cannot fail! When you sit, you do not fall because you are already down. Falling is an embarrassing moment for anyone. Ask Peter from what happened to him in Matthew 14.25-32. The thing is, falling never keeps a child from getting up and trying to walk again. Children never remain sitters. They get up and walk as soon as possible. We are children of God. Falling is part of living. Falling will happen to us all.
The blessing of falling is you can stand up again, and when Peter finally stood for Jesus, He delivered without shame, FEAR, or anxiety a message of redemption in Acts 2, to which many people obeyed and stood with Christ. It was not because Peter said it, but Christ stood with him and gave him the strength to stand. The same blessing is for you.