Wednesday, August 15, 2012
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Where I grew up in the North, they call it the Civil War; where my wife grew up in the South, they call it the War Between the States. No matter what you call it, you'd have to admit that one of the war's greatest heroes was General Thomas Jackson.
You say, "Who's that?" Well, you probably know him better as Stonewall Jackson. He was General Lee's most valued General in the confederacy, and he died a premature death in the middle of the war. In fact, some historians say that's one of the big reasons for the confederate defeat. He got his nickname, actually, at Bull Run; the first battle of Bull Run. His brigade was facing overwhelming odds, but they formed a strong line and they held their ground. With soldiers retreating all around them, General Jackson stood his ground. And one General who was trying to rally his troops shouted, "There stands Jackson like a (you guessed it) stone wall! Let us determine to die here and we will conquer!" One stone wall person turned the tide. They still do.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Stone Wall Heroes."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 6. Now, you've got here a classic description of spiritual warfare, and we are at war. There are battles daily for people's lives, and they end up either as the Devil's prisoners or Christ's followers. If you know Christ, you're in this war. Do you know what you're supposed to be doing?
Well, with the bullets flying, it might be good to know your assignment. Here it is in verse 11: "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the Devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then."
Did you notice something that's repeated four times here? Your mission - stand! Apparently, the Devil's attack is concentrated on getting you to back down; to give up ground, to compromise a stand you've taken. How successful has he been with you? To move back morally, that's what he'd like for you to do, to cut back the vision God gave you, to push you back into that sin or that mediocrity that Christ has moved you out of. See, God is looking for stone wall heroes who will stand there like a stone wall even when others are retreating.
This passage shows the three forces that can cause you to lose ground. It's what you're standing against, and I'm guessing you're feeling one of them right now. The first is the Devil's schemes. Take your stand against those; his clever attacks on your weak spot. Maybe he's doing that right now. Secondly, it says, "Take your stand in the day of evil." That's those dark days that come into your life when sin looks especially good; when you are just surrounded by incoming from all sides. Have you had a few of those lately? That's when you have to "take your stand." And then, thirdly it says, "When you've done everything to stand." The third thing that can cause you to lose ground is battle fatigue; you're just tired of fighting.
The bottom line in all of this passage, "Don't ever go out without your armor on." At Stonewall Jackson's battle, the troops were ready to run, but one man standing gave others the courage to do the same. If you'll be that person, you can have that same kind of effect. You have to stand under the pressure, stand under the attack, you refuse to move, you refuse to compromise.
You can help turn the tide of the battle if you'll be one of God's stonewall heroes.