"Stand up, stand up for Jesus; Stand in His strength alone. The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own. Put on the Gospel armor; Each piece put on with prayer. Where duty calls or stranger be, never wanting there.
"Stand up, stand up for Jesus; The strife will not be long; This day the din of battle, The next the victor's song. The soldiers, overcoming, Their crown of life shall see, And with the King of Glory, Shall reign eternally."
We like to be self-sufficient. We can take care of ourselves—at least most of the time. But our hymn warns of a conflict in which our own strength is not sufficient. "The arm of flesh will fail you." In our life of faith, we are not struggling against foes of flesh and blood, but "against the spiritual forces of evil" (see Ephesians 6:12). "The devil prowls around like a roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8b), eager to separate us from our Savior. But we are not left without resources in the battle: "Put on the Gospel armor," the hymn says, and do so "with prayer."
God supplies the armor we wear: truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, and the readiness of the Gospel. Our weapon of choice is the Spirit's sword, the Word of God. Armed for the fight, we are able to stand firm (see Ephesians 6:13-17). We, the saints on earth, are sometimes called the "Church Militant," that is, the fighting church. We are still engaged in battle against sin and Satan, and it is not yet time for us to join the saints in glory, the "Church Triumphant." Those saints now enjoy peace in the Lord's presence. Still, that day will come soon enough for us: "This day the din of battle, the next the victor's song."
In the earthly conflicts we experience, the ultimate outcomes are usually unknown to us—political and military struggles or clashes among families, co-workers or friends. In our battle against sin and Satan, the outcome is already decided. The victory has been accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ. By His death on the cross, Jesus destroyed "the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14b). Though still battling on, we have already begun to sing "the victor's song"—those joyful alleluias of Easter morning!—because Jesus has risen from the dead. He has conquered in the fight, and ours is the crown of life that Jesus has won for us.
Some of our nation's armed forces have the word "always" in their mottoes: the Marine Corps, with "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful), the Coast Guard's "Semper Paratus," (Always Ready), and the National Guard's "Always Ready, Always There." As soldiers of Christ, we have "always" in our marching orders as well: "In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15). With our words of witness and loving acts of service, we "stand up for Jesus" as "His strength alone" sustains us, and His love shines through us.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help us to stand up for You as faithful witnesses to Your victory over sin, death, and the devil. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus," which is found on page 660 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Where do you usually turn, first, when things get difficult?
2. How can we more consistently stand (operate) in God's strength alone?
3. Do you think you give others an example of trusting and relying on God when things are hard in your life? What might that look like to them?
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