Sit, Walk, Stand

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The book of Ephesians is divided by three actions. Each serves as a metaphor for important aspects of the Christian life.

Sit. You are seated with Jesus! At the core you know you are His because of His grace.

4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:4-7

Walk. You are walking with Jesus! Your calling to Jesus, profoundly rearranges your lifestyle, your character and your fellowship with Jesus’ church and others.

1I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Ephesians 4:1-7

Stand. You are standing with Jesus! Following Jesus shifts you from being a passive victim of this world’s spiritual conflict to being an active participant in the Kingdom of God.

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:10-13

sit, walk, stand–with Jesus

I like to walk fast.  Sure I enjoy the journey, but I like to get there too.  Its part of my problem in leading and life.  Let’s get into the battle and get something done.  But I’ve been reminded over and over that I am at risk both in the walk and the fight if I have not also sat with Jesus.

A few years ago my youngest would interrupt a walk with the plea…”Sit down Daddy.  Let’s see what we can see.  Sit down with me Daddy.”  And I had to make a choice.  I could keep walking without him, or I could sit down with him.  For you see, he had already found a log, or a bench at the beach, and he had sat down.

One of my favourite commentaries on the book of Ephesians is Watchman Nee’s little book, Sit, Walk, Stand.  In the book, part commentary and part testimony of God’s activity in China, he outlines Ephesians according to these three verbs:  sit, walk, stand.  These three verbs have been regular reminders from Ephesians of how I am to live with Jesus Christ.

Sit
“–it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him int he heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:5-7  NIV

Unless I make it my habit to be still and to sit with Jesus in communion and prayer I will live poorly.  Unless I sit with Him at His throne of grace or at His banquet table and receive His lavish gifts of forgiveness, grace, truth, healing, right perspective, I will live like a wealthy pauper, ignorant of the riches and status I have inherited as His child.

Walk
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called with all lowliness, and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-3 NKJV

Unless I have sat with Jesus I will definitely have trouble in the command to “walk this way.”  Walking requires that I enter from solitude into the fellowship of the saints.  It requires that I keep in step with the Spirit by engaging people in a manner consistent with the truth and love I have received from Jesus.  Walking means I don’t walk alone but that I walk with the company of the committed; it means that I share life with a collection of people who share the same calling from Jesus to be His–that would be the church.  Surprise.  If you have spent much time with the church you quickly realize that those modifiers in verses 2-3 are extremely important–humilty, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another–if love and truth are going to inhabit the community and our relationships in church, marriage, home, or work.  Our life with the church becomes the training ground for a new way of living in relationship with all of society. 

Stand
“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, against the authorities, against the power 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.”  Ephesians 6:11-13

Welcome to the resistance movement that Jesus started.  We are to stand together in the ground that he takes back from the darkness and the devil.  We are to infiltrate every domain of our cities with the truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation that accompanies the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  Unless you and I sit with Jesus, and walk with Jesus together, it is unlikely that we will stand our ground when the day of evil comes.  There will be little readiness unless we have become familiar with each part of this armor that God has given us.  There will be little familiarity with the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.”  And there will be little alertness for engaging in the battle through intercession.  Standing requires the fortification that comes through sitting and walking with Jesus.  Without these disciplines of sitting and walking I believe we will be easily persuaded to not stand with Jesus.  Instead we will give up the pursuit of justice for those who are being devoured by injustice; we will give up trying to communicate the Gospel to those who have no stomach yet for Jesus; we will be pushed back into our circles of comfort and familiarity, whispering empty platitudes to each other, and hoping that someone will rescue us from our momentary discomforts.

Ugh!  Oh please Lord, not me, not us.  Let me sit, walk, and stand with you.  And grant to each of us a community that also sits, walks, and stands with you.