Standing, Falling, and Getting Back Up

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,

Last Sunday we examined Eph. 6:10-17, where Paul emphasizes that we are in a spiritual battle against “the spiritual forces of evil.”  In this passage, Paul pictures for us the battle gear of an ancient Roman soldier, and uses that to illustrate the weapons we need to be victorious in this battle.  Four times in this passage Paul encourages us to “stand.”  If we make use of the spiritual weapons God supplies us with, we will be able to stand firm in our faith and Christian walk no matter how Satan tries to attack us.

The piece of equipment we considered was having our “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”  The Roman soldiers wore a special sandal that had spikes on the sole, enabling the soldier to get good traction and stand rather than falling in their battles fighting with sword and shield.  If they were to fall, they would certainly be killed by the enemy.

For us, this means being firmly rooted in the gospel, the good news of what God has done for us through Christ to forgive us, reconcile us to Himself, and adopt us as His children.  Having a solid foundation in the truth of the gospel will enable us to stand when the evil one would seek to trip us up in our faith.

Of course, none of us are perfect and sometimes we all fall.  We give into temptation, we fail to live in a Christlike way, we choose the path of disobedience.  While we should never take our failures and sins lightly, the good news is that when we fall, God doesn’t give up on us.  Rather, God helps us get back up on our feet and start afresh.

We see an example of this in Peter.  Just before Jesus was arrested and then crucified, He told the disciples (Luke 22:31-32) that Satan had demanded to sift them like wheat.  And then Jesus said specifically to Peter (Simon), “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith man not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  

As you know, just moments after that, Peter and the other disciples abandoned Jesus, and Peter even denied three times that he even knew Jesus.  Peter failed miserably.  Rather than standing firm in his faith, he lost his spiritual footing and denied his Lord.  Jesus knew in advance that Peter would do this, but He didn’t give up on Peter.  At first, it looked like in spite of the prayer of Jesus, Peter’s faith failed.  But it was not a failure.  If Peter never turned back to the Lord, his faith would have failed.

As it was, Peter was tripped up in his faith, but he didn’t stay on the ground.  With tears of remorse, he repented (turned back).  Jesus told Peter in advance that he was then to strengthen his brothers, who also failed the test.  Jesus still had a purpose for him.  We should be deeply rooted in our faith so we can stand in the midst of trials.  But when we fall, Jesus restores us and continues to invite us to serve Him and His purposes for us.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bob

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