There are a number of important questions to answer that the pandemic has brought to the surface. Where does caution end and over-cautiousness begin? Where does submission to authorities end and rebellion begin? How do we live richly and not fear in extremely frightening circumstances? How do we know what is right and act on it, when so many would coerce us away from such belief and action? How do I know God’s voice in the midst of so many conflicting (godly) voices?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. – Ephesians 6:10-11
The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians that we must be strong in the Lord and wear the armor of God so that we might stand. That may not sound very ambitious, but in truth, it is a significant goal in our day. It is not an easy thing to stand for what is right and true, stand for what you believe, with so many voices pouring contrary points of view into our lives. This is particularly true when those voices come from people we respect.
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ – Matthew 11:15-17
Jesus expressed His frustration with His own culture in that they were hard to please and opposed every idea. If you would proclaim joy, they would not be happy. If you would proclaim sadness, they would find no reason to be sad. No matter what is suggested, they would not agree or go along. They found fault in everything. The truth is that people desire to do their own thing and then look to conform you to their ideals in order to confirm their ideal’s righteousness.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29
The Bible is clear that the loudest voice in our lives should be the voice of God. But in the midst of so many passionate, influential, authoritative, educated, and familial voices, it is often difficult to hear the voice of God. If it is heard, then you may have to choose whom to offend by standing your ground in obedience to God. It is very easy to be shaped by the culture and the voices around us, rather than seek out and follow diligently the voice of God.
In a day where there are so many voices calling you to give up your ground, we must first develop a discipline that allows us to truly recognize God’s voice. We must have faith that God speaks and the direction that He imparts is the wisest course of action. We must be determined to persevere in the direction that the Lord points us. We must be willing to absorb whatever persecution that obedience may bring. We must be strong in the Lord and put on the armor of God. Then we can stand for good in the onslaught of tempting and manipulative voices that would turn the ground beneath us to sand. Standing your ground is a daily battle that requires daily attention and spiritual discipline.