Skip to content

You’ve Got to Stand for Something

Or You’ll Fall for Anything

(A condensation of the 1994 Annual Report of Pastor Mike Sydow to his congregation, Faith of Markesan, Wis. A member had suggested the report be submitted to the Spokesman.)

It is sometimes rather difficult to maintain a confession of Jesus Christ in a world bent on bashing Christians. Everyone of us is tempted to remain silent rather than risk the rebuke of others attacking our witness to Jesus Christ. A life of ease at the expense of a confession of faith is the path of least obstacles — certainly attractive so as not to make any waves.

The title comes from a country song. What is intriguing is the implication of the principle it expresses, even at a theological level. If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. If we don’t stand up for Christ and His Word, we will inevitably fall to everything worldly and satanic.

There are still a few in our country who say they stand for something. A recent poll revealed 88% of the individuals surveyed said that they always have believed in God; 44% said that they attend religious services on a regular, weekly basis.

It appears a few are trying to stand one one leg — teetering, as it were. One young man said that he didn’t go to church, but he considered himself a religious person. It appears that the “young … are less likely to translated belief in God into church attendance…” (Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1995, p. 53f) The urgent concern is that this article did not mention Jesus Christ at all. Being religious does not automatically translated into being a Christian.


The Gospel of Christ is the teaching that everything relating to the spiritual life and salvation of mankind is because of the love of God. It was His Son who offered the only sacrifice which could set things right between us and Him.

Unless we stand up for, and with, Christ, we’ll fall for the world’s current do-it-yourself theories of well-being. One doesn’t have to go far to hear or read about self-worth, self-esteem, and self-love. These are paraded as the solution to any problems people have. People are advised to look for the “good within” rather than to the Good One on the cross. In Him alone is forgiveness of sins — the solution to the worst problem we have as human beings.


The young man in the survey evidently did not know that one of the central features of belief is worship. Those in Christ can think of nothing better to do than gather with fellow Christians to honor and praise their King and to hear from Him over and over again how He has saved us through His death on the cross.

Unless we stand up for Christian worship, we’ll fall for every lame-duck excuse to avoid this God-pleasing activity: “too tired” — “doing something else” — “need family time” — “I can worship better outdoors.” Old honest Abe — Lincoln, that is — said it the way it is: “We do pretty much what we want to do.” Falling for the excuses to miss worship means simply that we’ve fallen into a lukewarm, semi-confessional state. Our Savior would rather “spit” such out of His mouth (see Rev. 3:16).

Has this become the respectable sin — skipping worship when we have the opportunity to attend? The excitement of the Gospel creates an enthusiasm for arranging one’s life so that worship is always a priority.


Our Lord loves generous and cheerful givers. He expects that His people honor Him with their talents and their substance. Actually, the Lord is asking that we return to Him some of what He has lent to us. Those who stand for, and with, Christ respond gratefully and proportionately of their money and time for the service of the Savior.

Those who don’t stand firmly will fall for every sort of scheme to be pikers (stingy!) in their gifts to the Lord. Perhaps we should contact each member who has given so little in a year to see if they have had some financial reverses and are now in a state of poverty. It’s either that, or we respond in overwhelming concern that worldly things and pastimes are more important than Jesus. It is genuinely disturbing to see people spend more for their leisure time and recreation that they do for their Savior.


Our congregations stand for Christian education. Those which have schools are committed to much higher expenditures for church expenses. We need to provide teachers, classrooms, books, and supplies — all because we value learning in the classroom where Christ is King, and all subjects are taught against the backdrop of His Word.

There are those of our fellowship who cannot attend our school here, but that does not all of a sudden make Christian educational optional. We have Sunday School. We have catechism classes for our public school students. We offer a youth group to remind our high school students of the pre-eminence of Christ. It does matter what one learns!


Not only are families under attack these days. The very idea of family in the first place has gotten some terrible press recently. When we stand up for, and with, Christ we recognize the wisdom that God has “set the solitary in families.” Let all seek the Savior’s advice to define their roles, relationships, attitudes, and goals as members of a family.

Without commitment to Christ and His Word people ignore God’s design for marriage, get divorces for reasons contrary to the Word, spout of about better — or at least different — arrangements, and otherwise belittle what God has ordained and continues to guard and keep. A Christian family is a laboratory of God’s grace where His Word reigns supreme and His counsel is sought on a regular basis for all of life’s plans and events.


When we stand up for, and with, Christ we are also standing up for His Word. He has also prescribed how a person’s attitude toward the Word controls with whom we worship and whom we call confessional brothers and sisters. Scriptural fellowship principles are not a fickle restriction designed to irritate faithful disciples. They are a special opportunity to witness. They are a protection of the Gospel itself from those who use the Word irresponsibly.

If we fail to stand up for, and with, Christ we’ll fall into a variety of fellowship expressions which militate against our Savior and His Word. Our Savior invites us to look to opportunities where we know we can share worship and church work. “Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'” (Jn. 8:31f).