Friday, January 4, 2019

Let's take a stand here!

Take a stand - what do those words really mean? To take a stand, one must have some form of footing upon which they will plant their feet - in the most literal sense. To take a stand may also infer we have 'grounds' for that which we are placing our trust in - such as having insurance on our savings account. We take a lot of stands in life - some very official and important, while others are more casual and kind of just spur-of-the-moment. In the most important category comes this heart determination to be on the Lord's side in all matters within our lives. There are certain lifestyle characteristics of one who has determined to stand with the Lord - unyielding in their commitment or allegiance. It has been said that if we don't stand for something, we will stand for nothing - pointing us to the important fact that what we "stand for" both determines our course and leaves a legacy for those that follow.

My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD. (Psalm 26:12)

As we take this 'stand', we begin by asking God to test us and try us - examining our heart and our mind in all aspects. The desire to be tested by God is not something for the weak, though! It is saying we are not looking for the judgment of men here - we are not seeing if we measure up to some standard arbitrarily declared to be the "standard" we are to follow. We are asking God to hold up HIS standard for us to plainly view and then to make a comparison between our life and that holy standard. When we have that mindset and heart determination, we live above the various judgments of men - let them think what they want, God's judgment is all that matters in our life - the only thing that will guide what we take a stand for in our lives.

There is something powerful that happens when we give God permission to put us "on trial". There is a desire to have a formal examination of lives. It implies that there will be both a testing of the quality of the commitment, but also a determination of the value of the thing being examined. The value is something that is assigned after the examination is complete - like when we assign a "value" to a piece of property after it has been appraised. We are really asking God to affirm our usefulness in his hands - that God has a specific place and use for us. We can only ask for this type of examination once we have truly established our stand - once we have "trusted in the Lord without wavering". God is looking for the characteristic within each of us of being faithful. Our faithfulness is made easier because we have made God the center of our focus.We need both a heart and a mind that is free of vacillation in the choice to serve God - no hesitation in commitment, no second-guessing the journey.

There is great importance in living dependent on the Word of God - in taking a stand upon the promises contained within those pages. It is more than a familiarity with the Word of God that we need - it is an awareness of the Word of God and an adherence to what it says. When we have truth exposed, we have two choices - embrace it or reject it. A man or woman of God has made the choice to embrace it, no matter the cost. When we are "adhering" to the Word, we are first remaining loyal to the study of the Word. Then we are learning obedience to it - allowing it to be fused to our heart. Our starting point is in making the commitment - that leads to the willingness to be put on trial (examined). What gives us the ability to "pass the exam" is two-fold: We have trusted God for our right-standing with him, and we have opened ourselves to the adherence to all he asks us to do. Just standin!

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