The Importance of Standing in an Evil Day
By Dr. Tom Walker
Our text verse for this study is found in Ephesians 6:13, which says, “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.”
We have already considered in our last study about the forces that are against us while we live in this world. Our three main enemies are the external (the world), the inward (our flesh), and the infernal enemy (the Devil). It is so important that we do not get discouraged or lose heart while we expend our lives for the Lord from day today.
The Christian life gets tough sometimes, but the hardest life to live is the life of the transgressor. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard” (Prov.13:15). The one who rebels against the commandments of God is the one who has a hard life. God gives us instruction for living to save us from some very damaging things that might occur to us in the future.
There is little doubt that we are in an evil day when we see so many people calling evil good and good evil. Evil came into this world through Satan himself, after he sought to receive the worship and adoration that only belongs to God. The following verses tell us where sin began. Isaiah 14:12-15 says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High, Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
We do not know why God continues to allow evil to operate in this world. God could put an end to it instantly by whatever means He might choose. However, we do know all it involves, He has an individual plan for you and me and a plan for the universe as well. In the end, God will get maximum glory; He will make sure of it happening.
Why Should We Stand
Note the word “Wherefore.” It simply has the same idea as the word “therefore.” It goes back to a fact that was previously stated and what follows is based upon that fact. What does it point back to in the verse we are examining?
First, stand because of the “wiles” of the Devil. He is so wicked, so evil, so convincing, that we cannot let our guard down against him. Satan is called so many things in the Bible that reveals his very character. We do not have time to look in-depth at what all these titles mean, but here are a few of them.
Throughout the Bible, he is called Satan, which means an opponent or an adversary. Many other names are ascribed to him such as “roaring lion” seeking who he may devour. You can rest assured that Satan, the roaring lion, is up to no good at all. He is also called “the Devil.” That means a slanderer. He not only slanders God to man but also man to God.
In the Scriptures, he is also called “Belzebub” which means “lord of flies” or “lord of dung.” That title tells us about how vile he always is.
In Matthew 4:3 he is called a “tempter.” That designation is given to him because he sought to tempt the Lord Jesus in the areas of the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We have to stand because the temptations of the devil so constantly come our way. It seems as though our tempter and adversary never give up.
In addition, the Devil is called a liar (John 8:44), the evil one (Matthew 13:19), and the enemy (Matt. 13:39). Many other titles are given to him in God’s Word.
Secondly, because of what we are wrestling or contending with from day to day. Verse 12 reveals that our major enemies are unseen. They are called principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Flesh and blood, the seen are not as difficult to deal with as the unseen, fallen spirit world which we must face daily.
Thirdly, because we are living in an evil day (v.13). There is more than one word for “evil” in our Greek text. The word used in our verse in this study is translated to other places in our King James Version as bad, harm, lewd, malicious, and wicked. The two major words for “evil” are transliterated as “kakos” and “poneros.” Trench in his synonyms of the New Testament explains the difference in the following way: “The kakos(evil) may be content to perish in his own corruption, but the poneros(evil) is not content unless he is corrupting others and drawing them into his own destruction.” Our word for “evil” in verse 13 is poneros, which speaks of an evil that corrupts others and draws others into one’s own destruction.
When Should We Stand
It is important to not procrastinate or put off standing for the Lord and against evil. The word for “stand” is interesting. Some say it means to be set against something. When we examine the usage of the word for a stand, we discover it is translated as “resist” twice in our KJV. In Matthew 5:39 it is rendered “resist”- telling us that when others smite us to not resist but give them the other cheek.
We are to stand without delay. There are times when delaying what we know we ought to do puts us in great jeopardy. If you knew your house would suddenly blaze up in a roaring fire, you would not delay one second before removing yourself from its premises. Souls are at stake if we do not resist evil and live for God in this generation. People’s eternal destiny is at stake if we give in and give up in the spiritual battles, we face each day.
We are to stand in God’s strength while it is available. God would not ask us in His Word to stand against and resist evil if it were not possible to do so. If you have God in any situation, all things are possible. Since the honor of the family of God is at stake in the way we live, the Lord certainly desires to enable you to withstand and to stand. Acts 1:8 informs us—“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
We are to stand while God offers us armor. The Bible says we are to “put on” the whole or entire armor of God. The Bible does not leave us in the dark as to what to do that we might win in the daily battles of life against the forces that are against us. He has provided defensive armor and offensive weapons to keep us from retreating in the battles of life. To fail to use what God has provided for our success is a formula for failure.
The Results of Standing
We would be glad to do what Paul the Apostle is telling us if we realized the benefits that come by not being guilty of spiritual cowardice. The last part of verse 13 says, “having done all to stand.” That is a comprehensive and encompassing effort if a person does all that can be done to stand. Paul has reference to an all-out effort to stand for the Lord.
If you stand by resisting evil, God will be pleased. Jesus said of His Father, “I do always those things that please Him” (Jn.8:29). 2 Timothy 2:4 says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” It does not matter that much that we please others in life if at the same time we are not pleasing God. Saved people want to please the Lord.
If you stand by resisting evil, you can sleep well at night. We all have something called a conscience. Your conscience will either accuse you or excuse you concerning your actions and attitudes. It is best not to violate your conscience, because as you do it becomes more insensitive as time goes along. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the ministry, in 1 Timothy 1:19 encouraging him by saying, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.”
If you stand by resisting evil, others will be encouraged to do the same thing. Years ago, I was standing on the street of one of our major cities. I noticed a man standing up staring at a skyscraper. Others walked up and stood around him. Their heads immediately went up to try to see what he appeared to be seeing. I found out later he appeared he was looking at something in particular, but all he was doing was seeing how people would react to what he was doing. When others see you doing right, taking a stand for the Lord, it will encourage them to do the same thing.
Having done all to stand, just keep on standing for Christ and resisting evil.