Stand Up for Jesus
by Tracy Gordon
“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, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” –Ephesians 6:13-16
I think all of us have a story about a school bully, whether we were the subject of the bullying or a witness to it. I recently shared such a story with my niece and nephew about their dad standing up to the school bully in my honor. You see, there was a boy at our elementary school who was less fortunate than many of us and a constant target for this particular bully. One day on the playground, I witnessed this horrible behavior and went over to try and make him stop. I immediately got shoved aside as I was younger and much smaller than him. Soon afterward, my big brother found me sobbing in a corner. He wanted to know what in the world was wrong!? After hearing my explanation, he said not a word but marched right over to the bully, punched him in the nose and said, “Now that’s for my little sister!” and walked away.
Not only had my brother stood up for the innocent boy who had done no wrong, but also for me because he did what I wasn’t able to do. Now maybe my brother shouldn’t have punched him in the nose, but justice was served and thankfully, my brother did not get in trouble. After sharing this story, I began to think about this crazy world we are currently living in and all of the bullies that are in front of us each and every day. It reminded me of another story and this time, by the grace of God, I was able to stand up for myself.
It all happened when my son was in third grade. I was the room mom of his class, and the teacher asked me to coordinate an Easter party before the kids went on Easter Break. This was back when it was actually called Easter Break because it was always the week before Easter. However, what she meant by Easter party was bunnies and an egg hunt. This was just not sitting well with me. How could I throw an Easter party with no mention of what Easter truly is, especially when I knew the majority of the class was Christian and celebrated the Easter holiday. I knew I needed to stand firm, but how? I went to bed that night not able to sleep and praying that God would equip me to do what I needed to do. The next day, He put two verses on my heart and I couldn’t believe what they said:
“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, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:13-16).
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).
I knew the Lord was asking and equipping me to stand firm in the faith, and to do so while holding unwaveringly onto my beliefs when the world around me was trying to make me question my faith or distract me from Jesus. With courage that could only have come from God, I told the teacher that if she wanted a bunny/egg hunt party she would need to find someone else to do it, but that I would be delighted to coordinate an Easter educational experience that included the Passover meal as I knew there was one Jewish child in the class. She wasn’t sure if this was going to fly, but got the green light from the principal, so my planning began. I told the Easter story using Resurrection Eggs, which are 12 plastic eggs containing twelve symbols of the Passion of Christ. With the eggs, the children got involved in expressing what they knew about each symbol and learned more as I explained further about their importance. I presented the food used at the Passover meal and the connection to the Last Supper, highlighting what each food represented and giving each child a sample of matzah bread. The children were excited and completely engaged. You could have heard a pin drop as they listened intently, wanting to know more. I left the class that day feeling I had been so empowered by the Holy Spirit and so thankful for the courage He gave me.
As I was driving home, a hymn I sang in church as a child came to mind. The verse, “Stand up stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long. This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song. To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be. They with the King of glory shall reign eternally” really resonated with me in that moment. That night, I received an email that I will never forget. It was from the mother of one of my son’s classmates. She explained that the family had recently moved here from Japan. Her son had come home so excited about what he had learned about Easter in class that day. He had told her the whole story and she was so thrilled he got to learn about Jesus and Christianity. She wanted him to learn about what many in America believed. Wow! Had I planted a seed? Maybe, but what I do know is her encouragement completely strengthened my courage. I hope that with the Lord’s help, I will continue to be courageous in the good fight.
Dear Lord, thank You that Your words never fail and continue to encourage and equip us. Thank You for reminding us that we must fight, we must love, and we must keep believing. Please help us to not bow down, give in, or be persuaded to do anything contrary to Your will. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.