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Jim's Jots and Tittles. . .

Stand Up Straight

Every time my mother saw me standing hunched over she would always tell me to "stand up straight." One reason she did this, she knew that if I stood hunched over long enough my spine would not develop properly as I grew to adulthood. Spiritually, God expects his children to "stand up straight" so that we will mature properly as we grow into adult Christians. This is what James is writing about in James 1:2-4: "consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Paul referred to Timothy as his true child in the faith and his beloved son. As his child in the faith, he often told him to"stand up straight" as he matured spiritually. "Let no one look down on on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example to those who believe." (1 Timothy 4:12)

In the books of the New Testament the writers use the word "stand" in at least eleven books to stress the concept of "standing up straight" as Christians. Note how Paul tells the Thessalonians how they are to "stand up straight." "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Paul was very direct when he wrote the Corinthians to "stand up straight" among their many problems. "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:1) And notice what he wrote to them in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 about "standing up straight." "Be on the alert, stand firm in your faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."

Even though Paul was in prison, he was concerned about the Philippians "standing up straight." "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that your are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." (Philippians 1:27)

Peter also encouraged Christians to "stand up straight." "Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you, for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble. (2 Peter 1:10)

We understand that "standing up straight" will enable one to develop normally physically, regardless of what one must endure. Paul uses this same principle as he discusses Christians "standing up straight" and growing to the measure of the stature of Christ: "until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ." (Ephesians 4:13-15)

Can we say this is the picture of our lives as we "stand up straight" for God and His will? "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." (Ephesians 5:1)

—Jim Hunt