Strength to Stand

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

– Acts 7:55, 56

I have spent a lot of time thinking about these two verses and what keeps catching my attention is Jesus standing... not sitting. Standing.

Have you ever done something, a performance or something where you receive the applause of an audience? The feels really good, right? But how about when the audience stands up to applaud you? That's an even better feeling!

Let's be a little more somber right now. Stephen is about to die. He gave a moving sermon that glorified God and now he is to be stoned to death, for nothing he said that was wrong, but because it convicted his audience of their sin.

Jesus knows that Stephen is moments away from death and He loves him. As the men cast Stephen out of the city and pick up stones to kill this man of God, Stephen looks to heaven and finds peace. He sees Jesus standing, waiting to receive His servant. Jesus isn't sitting and watching, He's standing and welcoming.

Think about that: the statement and out pour of love in that. So what is my point? My point is pretty straightforward. Jesus will stand for us, if we will stand for Him (Matt. 10:32).

Now, standing for Jesus doesn't just mean standing during a song on a Sunday morning. Sometimes standing for Jesus means we must speak out against our loved ones. We might have to disagree with family or friends. No one likes that. No one likes being uncomfortable. But if we are to have the same mind as Christ (Phil. 2:5) then we need to look back on His life. Jesus' life is not a picture of ease or comfort. How many times did Jesus have to stand against His fellow Jews? Jesus even had to make a stand against his friend, Peter. Is that something He wanted to do? Certainly not. But He did it nonetheless.

So too, must we. We must strengthen ourselves in His word (Eph. 6:10-13), preparing ourselves to make a stand for Christ as Stephen and countless others did. We must make ourselves ready (1 Pet. 3:15-17). we will not wake up one day fully armed in the armor of God. It is up to us to put it on.

Standing for Christ can be hard and it can feel like too great a burden to bear, but I have good news: it's not too much. He will never let us bear more than we are able (1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 5:6,7).

Standing for Christ does not go unrewarded (Jas. 1:12). How many times does the book of Revelation talk about those who overcome? How many times does the same book mention the rich reward God holds for them that overcome? We have such a prize ahead of us (2 Tim. 4:8); we must never lose sight of that.

Our Lord stands for us. Will we stand for Him?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

– Joshua 1:9

- Olivia McCurdy

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