Some years back, I was meeting with my accountability group at Panera, as was the normal Monday morning ritual. While we were talking, we heard a muffled crash followed by a loud “thump!” We looked over and a man who was likely in his mid-60s had tripped and fallen, knocking his head against the metal frame of the commercial grade windows.
As some people rushed to the man’s assistance, I blurted out to Greg, one of my accountability partners, “You’re a doctor, do something!”
Of course, Greg knew that he was a doctor. And as a prudent doctor would do, he was assessing the situation before taking action. Something I hadn’t considered before declaring the obvious was that malpractice suits are filed at the drop of a hat.
So Greg was not only making sure his expertise was even needed, he had a measured approach that would provide him some proactive protection. Rather than listening to me, Greg stood there first, watching the situation unfold and taking in a number of variables, discerning the best response from merely a good response.
As it turns out, the man’s injuries were far from life-threatening (as Greg had quickly recognized). He walked over to the man after a couple minutes passed to get a better look, and offered the man some comfort and general input, without disclosing that Greg was a doctor. A few minutes later the man was off to get some stitches.
When you’re in a moment of crisis, when things seem to fall apart, or when you feel attacked, overwhelmed, or desperate, the temptation can be to hurry up and find a fix. You don’t want to just sit there, you want to do something, right?
Where fitness is concerned and the bathroom scale gives you a outlandish number, you rush to try the latest fad pill or program.
Or you suddenly realize how out of shape you are when you’re out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs, so you join the closest CrossFit gym 20 minutes later… after your heart rate returns to normal.
Or maybe you’re struggling spiritually, so you sign up for yet another Bible study, hoping that this is the one that will finally do the trick. Or perhaps you don’t have time to participate in a third Bible study, but you do have time to buy another spiritual self-help book to compliment the stack already on your nightstand.
Sometimes our DNA kicks in and we can’t help but to want to do something, anything, to fix the situation. But our DNA is sinful and therefore misleading. And so often times, the best action to take is to take no action at all. Instead of running to a resource, we merely need to stand there.
That’s partly why there are shoes of sorts mentioned among the other various pieces of the Full Armor of God.
… and your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. – Ephesians 6:15 (NIV)
Now the peace Paul is referring to is what we have with God, being made right before Him because of the Gospel. So in Christ, we are at peace with God. He is on our side because of His Son. Consequently, if our feet are fitted “with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” we have the assurance of both God’s love for us, and also His promise to fight battles for us that we can’t win without Him.
So what exactly do our feet need to be ready to do? To stand firm! Dig in our heels and stay put, unwavering, and unafraid. We are unafraid because God is the one taking care of business. We see this littered throughout the Bible, where we are instructed to “stand firm” and watch God do the work.
Moses tells the Israelites this in Exodus 14:13: “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” God delivers.
King Jehoshaphat is told this in 2 Chronicles 20:17 before God defeats the Moabites and Ammonites on the king’s behalf: “…stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged…” God defeats.
Kind David understood this as seen in the famous verses from Psalm 20: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” God saves.
Jesus says it in three of the four gospels, such as in Mark 13:13: “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” God saves again.
And Paul says it in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” God guarantees.
So in every fight you have with food, in every war you wage with a workout, in every battle against the bulge, if your feet are firmly planted in the peace that comes with God as your source of strength, hope, and faith, God does the rest.
Let me be clear. Books and Bible studies are great things. Gyms and fitness programs and supplements can work wonders. But as Christians, our default should not be to turn first to them, but rather to turn first to Him.
So the next time you find yourself in a moment of crisis, I’d challenge you to fight the compulsion to rush out and do something about it. Instead, stand there… and stand firm in Him.
Because He and only He delivers… defeats… saves… and guarantees victory in things to come.