“Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, stand firm.” – Ephesians 6:13 ESV
If you have grown up in Christianity for anytime at all, you have probably heard the passage about “Taking up the whole armor of God”. I like these verses. While I totally disagree that being a Christian is as easy has having a “checklist” mentality, I do like having something I can reference day in and day out and hold myself accountable to these tasks.. almost like a checklist.
However, for today, I want to take the latter part of verse 13 and talk about “having done all to stand.”
We live in a world that strives for perfection. Perfection is a great goal to achieve, but sometimes we have to be realistic with setting too high of expectations. What I mean by that is we as Christians know that we need to be perfect in order to enter Heaven.. but what does that really mean? Am I never allowed to slip? How can someone that is human be perfect?!
I believe this verse in Ephesians helps address that question. Allow me to explain.
When we put on Christ in baptism, we made a commitment to follow Him and His Word until the day we die. However, a drunkard that is in recovery and is baptized will still have the urge to drink. Someone that is addicted to sex or pornography will still have the urge and temptations to do those tasks. That is part of life. We all have consequences for the different choices we have made. Some steal, some committed murder, some lie, some gossip, slander, etc. Remember, Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”, and 1 Peter 5:9 says, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same types of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” One more for you, 1 John 2:16 tells us that all sin can be rolled up in three categories, “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.”
So, what does this mean?
First of all, Romans teaches us that we can not continue in sin so that grace may abound (see Romans 6). But Paul a couple of books later tells us that he struggled daily to make sure his body was in subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27) and that there were times he knew what he should do but didn’t do it and vise versa (Romans 7:15-20).
So, how does this all harmonize?
We have to keep in mind that we are all human. Every one of us. But being human is not an excuse to sin! Hebrews talks about that if we go on sinning willfully, there is no longer a justification of sins (Hebrews 10:26). What does matter is our thought process.
God knows our heart, and you can’t fool him. You know what is right from wrong. You know situations that cause you to sin. You know what makes you give into temptation. So the question now becomes “what are you doing about it?” Do you like flirting with sin seeing how close you can get to the fire without being burned? Or are you actively trying EVERYTHING you can to not sin? There is a huge difference.
I believe if we have the thought process of actively trying with every fiber of our being to not sin, and then we do slip but fall on our knees and pray to God asking Him to forgive us for our stumble and then get right back up, reassess the situation and learn from our mistakes, we have nothing to worry about.
THAT is what Ephesians is talking about. THAT is perfection. THAT is what Christ wants. He wants our all, and he wants our hearts. If we can give him that by putting on the whole armor of God, then Paul says “after you have done all that you can, stand firm.”
Stand firm, brother! I love you and so does God!