This post is the fifth piece in a series of posts called, “A Six Point Battle Plan Against Fear.” Read the previous post here.
Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
Some of the bravest women I know are those who escape violent relationships.
I have seen women of all ages, races, and backgrounds rise to a bravery that inspires me to this day. It is the reward of blessing that I get to see as a founder and board member of our local domestic violence shelter. My thoughts drift back to those early days in 2001 when seven friends met at a coffee shop, and after a couple of years of pure struggle, Ruth’s Cottage was born. Since then, Ruth’s Cottage has served hundreds of victims, equipping them with support and watching their bravery rise as they create new lives out of the dust and disaster of their old life.
One of the hardest parts of dealing with fear is standing firm and believing that God is with you.
When you are in a storm of fear, it takes courage to remember the truth and not listen to Satan’s lies. The feeling of fear isolates and magnifies the aloneness we often feel. This feeling is a favorite tactic of Satan. He wants us to feel alone. In this verse of Scripture, we see four points of the battle.
Paul tells the believers at the church in Corinth to stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, and be strong. Staying alert refers to the same alert that Peter advises in 1 Peter 5:8; “Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.” There are 66 verses of Scripture that deal with being watchful or alert. Paul’s voice joins the others in this warning; stay alert. God is always there watching, hovering, and loving. He is there, especially when you feel alone.
Paul also advises us to stand firm. Staying alert is hard, but standing firm when surrounded by fear, will take every ounce of everything you have. God gives us the tools we need to stand firm in what we know. There is an Ann Voskamp quote that inspires me; “Be brave. Your bravery wins a thousand battles you can’t see because your bravery strengthens a thousand others to win their battles too.”
I have learned that our battles are often not solely for us but others as well. Bravery is often contagious, and when one woman stands strong in bravery, others will often follow. As believers, we have the empowerment of God in our struggles to rise strong and be brave. It is up to us to use the tools God has given us.
Paul then finishes out this thought to be strong.
I have seen women rise strong with an incredible determination to follow God in their lives no matter what mistakes they have made or how things look. They are determined to believe what Scripture says and walk in that strength. The point is, they believe, and they don’t give up. I read something I had never thought about before in Scripture.
After the crucifixion, Jesus’ body was taken down by Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and placed in a tomb. On the third day, very early, Mary Salome and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to be sure the body of Jesus had been property readied for burial. These were women in ancient times with no rights, no political power, nothing but a determination to prepare the body. It was their job and entrusted.
What strikes me is that they didn’t allow the circumstances of their situation to keep them from standing strong and doing what they knew needed to be done. Their obstacles were daunting. They were women, a massive stone would need to be removed so they could get to the body, there were two Roman guards to deal with, and they would endure the deep choking grief of seeing the body of Jesus. They trusted God and went.
I wish I could have been there to witness their faces when they saw God had taken care of every obstacle in their path.
Their determination to stand firm, feet planted, and believe that God was with them in all of the challenges must have been breathtaking. Even better, they were the first ones to get the news of, “He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said.” They were among the first human beings to physically see the resurrection of Jesus, the underlying essential fact of the gospel which brings hope to all.
Miracles like this are not just for ancient times. They are ours as well. When we are in a battle with fear, follow the example of our ancient mothers. Stand firm, feet planted, knowing God is fighting for you and with you. Standing firm in the face of fear is a legacy handed down to us from other believers.
Embrace it and stand firm!