Home after church one day a mom found her little boy in his room, standing on top of his Children’s Bible, feet together, arms wavily wildly as he tried to maintain balance. When the mom saw him she asked what he was doing, and he replied that he had been praying for a bicycle and his children’s church pastor said you had to stand on the Word to get your prayers answered, so that is what he was doing. “Mom, do you know how long I have to stand on the Word before God gives me my bicycle?”
With results ranging from the humorous to the tragic, the phrase ‘standing on the Word’ has permeated most of Christian culture to such a degree that in some circles when people ask how someone is doing they might reply, ‘Oh, you know, still standing on the Word’ as some sort of measure of emotional and spiritual health.
Enter man’s tradition
Is there power in the ink and paper verse? No. If the Bible alone had power then anyone who read it would be saved, but we all know that doesn’t happen. What makes the Bible so powerful? It is more than the concepts therein, it is that the Holy Spirit brings to life the words on the page. Without the Spirit making those words alive, you have just a ‘book’ called the Bible.
So if you are ‘standing’ on a verse without the Holy Spirit having communicated to you that verse is for you, you are standing merely on ink and paper. But there is a solution.
There was no New Testament to ‘stand on’ until the late 300′s AD, some 250 years after the events we are so privileged to read about in our New Testament. Apostles Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude were doing church in the house and writing their letters to people doing church in the house. They had no written scriptures other than Genesis through Malachi, for no one had yet written about the life of Jesus and their own letters were just then being copied for reading in (home based) churches.
When Paul wrote in his letter that became Ephesians 6:13-14 to put on the whole armor of God and having stood, stand against the wiles of the devil, he never actually said to ‘stand on the Word’. Our stand is against the plans of the enemy. What Paul wrote became twisted through the ‘Word of faith’ movement of the 1980′s to be taught as ‘stand on the Word’, having been repeated enough most Christians who believe it that think it is chapter and verse. But it isn’t. This is:
“Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…for we wrestle not against flesh and blood…therefore take to yourself the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand on the evil day, and having done all to stand, stand therefore…” Ephesians 6:11-13 We stand against Satan’s plan. How?
What DO we stand on? The truth in scripture
In Acts 13:45-48 Paul and Barnabus are teaching about Jesus and are strongly opposed by the unbelieving Jewish population of the city, and Paul makes this declaration:
“It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, look! We turn to the Gentiles, for this is what the Lord commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’
The word that Paul said the Lord spoke to him that he quotes here, is Isaiah 49:6 in a prophesy about Messiah. The Lord lifted that verse to tell Paul it applied to him. Paul didn’t open Isaiah to look for a verse that fit his life or situation. He didn’t read it in his memory verses nor in his morning devotional. The Lord spoke that word to him.
THAT is how we stand, we stand on fresh revelation which the Lord speaks to us for our situation. The Lord lifts verses and tells us, reveals to us, that verse is for us. WE don’t make that decision.
Revelation from the Lord on a particular verse is revelation from heaven, and the gates of hell cannot stand against revelation from heaven. Paul didn’t thumb through the Old Testament to find a verse to ‘stand on’, He received revelation from the Lord. To do that, you have to know the Lord and walk with Him and pray about your situation until you get a ‘Word’ – not quickly use your daily memory verse because it just happens to fit – unless the Lord told, showed, revealed, communicated to you that it was for you.
In John 21:18 Jesus prophesies to Peter about how he would die, stating: “Truly I say to you, when you were young you dressed and walked wherever you wanted. But when you are old another will dress you and carry you to a place you don’t want to go.” The apostle John adding in v19: “This He spoke to signify what kind of death he would glorify God, and when He had said this to him, He said, “Follow Me.” Notice Jesus is telling him when he is old he will be crucified – this is important.
About 10 or a bit more years later Acts 12 opens with the matter of fact statement Herod had killed James, the brother of John, with the sword and had now arrested Peter with the intent of doing the same. Peter is still a young man, and being executed by sword is not crucifixion. I believe that is why Peter was so sound asleep in v7 that the angel had to hit him to awaken him. (Greek for ‘hit’: pataxas, to beat as in the beating of the heart, to strike, to hit). Peter was deeply asleep.
The Word Peter was ‘standing on’ was revelation from the Lord from roughly 10 years earlier that when he was old he would be crucified. Later in life, in his last letter which is our II Peter, in 1:14-15 he said this: “…knowing the shortly I must put off this tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me. Moreover I write this that after my death you will have these things always in remembrance.”
Peter was fully aware in Acts 12 how he was going to die, and it wasn’t going to be by sword when he was still young. He was sound asleep as he ‘stood’ on the Word. Paul was ‘standing’ on a similarly given personal word from the Lord that shifted his attention to the Gentiles.
We stand on personal revelation for our situation. That’s how it is done. For your situation now – stop what you’re doing, carve out time with Him (worship and then being quiet in HIs presence is what I recommend), and let Him give you a word for your situation. But that raises the question, where does Jesus’ revelation come from?
That is for next week. Until then, blessings,