Here’s a curious horse, coming along to check something out! I wonder if the photographer was holding a carrot…
If you knew absolutely nothing about horses (like me just a few months ago), this approach could seem a bit scary! You might be wondering if you were about to be attacked by this humongous creature. What could its intentions possibly be??
After spending hours and hours around horses, it becomes easier to read their body language. For some of you, you’ve spent your entire life interacting with horses, and it just comes naturally to you. Not so with all of us. There’s quite a learning curve!
Horses communicate with each other mostly through body language. One of the interesting tidbits I’ve learned involves standing your ground. When a horse wants to establish dominance over another horse, it will force the other to move by either walking in its direction or actually coming into contact with it. As soon as the other horse moves out of the way, it has communicated submission. There’s no vocalization needed, it’s all clearly understood!
A horse will use the same method with humans. If a horse walks toward you and you step back, you’ve given ground and told the horse that you’re not in charge. If you stand your ground and the horse eventually walks away, you win!
This is of course only one tiny piece of the puzzle. You also need to be able to read the rest of the horse’s body language to understand what else is going on…please don’t go to the nearest pasture and try this out on an unknown animal!!
There are many scriptures calling us to stand and to not be moved. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil . . . put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” (Ephesians 6:11, 13 NLT) When Satan comes at us like a roaring lion to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), it can be a lot scarier than a curious horse ambling in our direction. But facing the battle fully clothed in the armor of God, we can stand firm and immovable.
When we “resist the enemy,” we refuse to be moved! Don’t let him push you around!!
Practice putting on your armor daily, so that it becomes second nature. The armor I’m talking about is found in the next few verses of Ephesians 6: “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:14-17) Know the Word of God, and be prepared to use it.
Paul encourages the Corinthian church, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) Why be on guard, courageous, and strong if there’s no possibility of attack? Don’t be surprised when the attacks come! Be ready, and stand firm in your faith.
Peter writes something very similar: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Finally, remember the Source of our armor, our courage, our strength, and the One who holds us in place when we stand for Him. “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5:1-2) We don’t stand in our own strength, for that would be one of the quickest ways to defeat! Our pride and arrogance would be our downfall. We stand in and because of God’s amazing grace, and from that place of “undeserved privilege” we draw strength and courage. God is on our side! Who can stand against us?
Is the devil trying to push you around, attempting to get you off-balance through fear, worry, temptation, pride, or discontentment? “Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) This is a two-step process. First squash your pride as you submit to God; and second, resist! Don’t submit to the devil’s schemes; instead, refuse to be moved.
Stand your ground!