Standing Firm: When my oldest son played basketball in high school, at 6'8" and over 200lbs, he could plant his feet firmly on the court and pretty much not be moved. As I read 1 Peter I am reminded of the stance he took in order to “stand firmly” against his opponent. It was always the same, he knew the player was coming at him and he would plant his feet. With a look that said “I dare you” his opponent would run into him leaving him still standing, the player on the ground and a successful block played.
Our opponent, Satan, often tries the same kind of tactic. He comes at us full force with the hopes of knocking us over. Without understanding how to take “the stance” and stand firmly Satan often succeeds.
1 Peter 1:13 gives us insight into how to stand firm against our opponent. The verse begins with the word therefore, so first thing we must ask is “what’s it there for?” If we look back at verses 1-12 we are reminded that we are chosen of God. We are being sanctified by the Spirit. We are born into a living hope through Christ. We are protected by the power of God through faith. We will face various trials and be tested by fire for the proof of our faith in order to bring glory to Christ Jesus. We will suffer as Christ suffered.
The Stance: There are no “if’s” or “maybe’s” about it, you will be tested. You will suffer and various trials will be apart of our earthly life. How, then, do we stand firm in the midst of it all? How do we firmly plant ourselves so that the enemy will not be able to easily move us?
Peter tells us to prepare our minds for action. Our minds must be prepared to face the oncoming attack of our opponent. First I believe we must realize that an attack is imminent. We can not live life in a dream world where we believe only good things will happen. It’s not truth. 1 Peter 4:12 says “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange things were happening to you,” James says in 1:2 that we are to consider it all joy, when you encounter various trials. So know that trials and suffering will be apart of your life here. The second thing I believe we must know in order to prepare our minds is to know truth. To know truth we must know God and study His word. Our opponent often strikes hard blows to the mind during battle and if we do not know what the word of God says in that situation then he will easily be able to knock us down. So we must be in the word, seeking after God in order to know Him and understand His character if we are to prepare our minds.
We stand firm by keeping sober in spirit. To be sober in spirit means to be calm and collected in the spirit. In other words, be able to think clearly according to truth. Again we go back to knowing God’s truth by studying/reading His word. It’s the only way to know absolute truth.
We stand firm by fixing our hope on the grace that will be ours at the revelation of Jesus Christ. To fix our eyes on grace, to know “of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” (Thayer & Smith Lexicon) I just love this! I can stand firm knowing that God is the one who keeps and strengthens me. He is the one that will increase my faith that is needed to stand firm.
As obedient children we are not to conform to any part of our past lifestyles but we are to be holy as Christ is holy. Simply put, I am to crucify the old me, the flesh that ruled my spirit before I came to a saving knowledge of God and allow the Spirit of God to rule in my heart. I am to follow Christ and live as He did, knowing that what He put to death in the flesh, He made alive in the spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)
In Review. We need to have a firm knowledge of God, who He is and what His word says if we are to stand firm in the face of opposition. When we come face to face with our enemy in the midst of trials we need to remain calm, don’t react in surprise. You know it’s coming so prepare yourself for that day. Know that in the midst of suffering you are to still remain focused on the grace that is yours through Christ. You are to remain obedient to God and be holy. You are to walk in the power of the Spirit not the flesh.
Begin today to prepare for the suffering, fiery test and trials that will come so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold may be found to result in praise, glory, and honest at the coming of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)