Your stance is your posture when you stand. We use the word in reference to how our bodies stand so we can engage during sports or even combat. Figuratively, if we take a stance, we are taking a position for or against something. For instance, if I take a stance on a contentious issue, it means I believe strongly, one way or the other, for or against. If I take an unpopular stance, I’m going to need some strong arguments to hold my position. “Stance” comes from the Italian “stanza” which means stopping place. French origin means abode and Spanish interprets to dwelling. This position I’m taking, my stance, is where I will be. I will not move. My stance will not change on a matter. My decision has been made. My stopping place.
Every sport has a “stance”. They take a certain position in order to gain the most effective outcome of the energy and expertise they are about to expend. They spend hours strengthening their legs and their cores in order to strengthen their stance. Once they take that stance on the field of their choice, if they are the best, they are going to win. It’s all about the STAND. It’s all about how you plant yourself.
My stance of recent months has been all over the place. The slightest breeze knocks me flat. I don’t stay down. I get back up. If life bumps me, I’m back in a heap and getting back up and dusting myself off. I have been working on strengthening my spiritual legs, my weakened faith, and my “I can’t win!” mentality. But this year has not only knocked me flat, it’s taking everything I have and more to get back on my feet again.
I am in a cycle of physical testing right now that has left me shocked and surprised a couple of times a week, it seems. Assigning more tests, more specialists, more appointments, more money, more time, more frustration, more in need of perfecting my stance.
“We need to run a scan.”
“We need more labs.” And more labs. And more labs.
“We need a new specialist.”
“We need an MRI.”
“We need an ultrasound.”
“We need an EEG.”
“We need a balance assessment.” Well, duh! You keep knocking me off my feet!
“We need cognitive and reasoning assessment.”
“We need another specialist.” And then….
“We’ll need to do a biopsy.” I didn’t just hit the floor, I went through the floor. I dug a deep imprint with that one. No! No! No! You just took a stance on my cleared, perfect, in remission for 6 years, field. No!
I am going to interject something here. I had this blog pretty well finished on Monday, but in talking to a friend late last night and talking about the games the devil plays with our minds I likened it to being an abuse victim. The one thing most have in common, is when the abuser backs off, they are lulled into a false sense of security that the abuse has stopped. Life gets back to normal as it is known and then, “Wham!”, you are being beaten again. Then the abuser backs off, you take a deep breath, believe it will never happen again, until it does. That is exactly how the devil comes after us. A few hits, he backs off, and we thank God that storm has passed. Then he’s back and slamming us with something else, and when it passes, we take a deep breath, thank God, and get back up. He toys with us, one day at a time, one fight at a time, one blow at a time, until we are completely and utterly depleted and cannot stand one more onslaught. We are weary in well-doing. We fall short of the finish line. We are bed-ridden emotionally, broken physically, and weakened spiritually.
When I got off the phone with the docs office on yesterday, my daughter was here, and I probed her knowledge base about “abnormalities”, while trying to not relay any emotional feeling about the call one way or the other. My baby grands were here and I was as calm as a sea of glass on the outside, but my insides were roiling. That sea of glass was pure liquid and the wind roiled it precariously.
But God! “Perfect Your Stance!” HUH? “Perfect Your Stance.”
I thought about that for a few hours and prayed. About 2 in the morning, I went into the dining table and opened my Bible to Ephesians 6. You know the passage. The whole armour of God. I have done studies before on each piece. I know the history of each piece, why and how it is used. However, verse 13, ” Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” in all honesty has been a hurried passage for me. When I read it before, I kind of read it like one run-on sentence or verse, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; ” and on to the rest of the armour. There is a definitive comma before the first “stand”, followed by a period in the King James Version, which is my personal preference.
“…. and having done all, to stand.” This is what struck me. Revelatory. Past tense. Having done all! That’s past tense. So Paul is writing this letter to the church in Ephesus and he is writing it from prison. I think he knows a thing or two about perfecting his stance. He writes that if you have already done the following to protect yourself from satan, you will stand, PERIOD. Then goes on to tell them how to do so. I have read this passage and never noticed the context of the verses. Do this and you will find that you have withstood. Simple.
No, it’s not simple. It’s hard. The devil is cunning, He knows your weaknesses. He knows your strengths. He sees a lot more of what we do and hears what we speak and uses it all to his gain. His ultimate battle plan is against Jesus Christ and his strategy is to pick each of us off, one at a time. If he can weaken our stance? He can kick us while we’re down. So how do we stand? How do we perfect our stance? We must first kneel.
I was down and being kicked repeatedly. So weak in mind, body and spirit that I could not find my bootstraps in order to pull myself up. I rolled to my knees in prayer and the Lord began to minister to me. I groaned and HE listened. He whispered and I felt peace. I wept and HE held me. HE held me and I received comfort. I talked and HE spoke to me and directed me in tenderness. HE didn’t scold, or beat, or shame me. He simply directed me. “Perfect Your Stance.”
When we pray, it is a humbling and amazing time, it is a time of refreshing, it can be challenging, it can be fearful, but it is always fruitful! No matter what we have to talk to Jesus about, first and foremost, we will feel HIS love. No matter what! It matters not what you have done, how embarrassing or bad it was, HE stands ready with open arms and a forgiveness never experienced in this life. It matters not the confession. It matters not the request. It matters not the failure. It matter not the problem. The only thing that matters is that you are talking to the ONE who knows you better than anyone, because HE created you and has seen your entire life and yet HE loves you with unending love! Prayer to a Christian is like breathe in our lungs. We must breathe in order to live and grow strong in our stance. Pray continually. Pray without ceasing. Just like breathing.
Next comes the Word of God. Your Bible. It is the substance that provides the nutrients to our walk with the Lord. “When Your words came, I ate them: they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” Jeremiah 15:16 Spending time in the Word is like sitting down to a meal with God. Daily growing in wisdom and knowledge. If not you will grow weaker and eventually starve spiritually.
And last, but not least, exercise. To perfect a stance, strengthening those muscles is important. Remember the story in Luke the 8th chapter when the disciples went into the storm on the water? Jesus was resting and they awakened HIM in a panic and HE said to them, “Where is your faith?” They had seen display after display of the ability of Jesus to perform the miraculous, yet were seized with panic. Here is the part that is almost humorous about this event. They apparently forgot that Jesus was the one who directed them into this storm. They followed HIM, yet forgot HIS power and ability, and failed to exercise what they knew about GOD HIMSELF.
We have to put into practice everything we learn in prayer and in studying the word, in order to perfect our stance in the time of trouble. We will never be more than conquerors, laying in the mud, wallowing in self-pity, or feeling overwhelmed by life in general. You stand, you make the decision to be permanent in residence, to not give up ground, to not flinch or fall, by understanding that our faith must be in HIM and not in our own ability. We are pathetic specimens compared to HIM. But HIS Sovereign nature means HE can not ever be forced to do something HE does not or will not do. We can trust HIS ability to do a thing, but must also embrace HIS will in the matter. Faith follows HIM, believes HIM, trusts HIM. So if HE is directing you to do something, do it! Know HIS abilities and remember them. And know HE will see you through it in HIS time and in HIS way that will work for your ultimate good.
That is the moment you can give the devil a fist-pie in the eye! KO the abuser.
Perfecting my stance is about rededicating my life to HIM in ways I have never seen or done before. Perfecting my stance is about putting the brakes on spiritually wobbly legs, weak faith, and a “I can’t win!” mentality.
…..BUT GOD! …..WITH GOD! …..FOR GOD!!