Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
(Philippians 4:1 ESV)
When we first started studying Philippians we saw how God brought together very different people to start this church. It would certainly be easy for the these disparate people to lose their cohesion. In fact, we can determine from what Paul has said thus far, and will say later in Chapter 4, that the Philippians were having problems seeing eye-to-eye.
In this letter Paul has warned the believers in Philippi about the dangers of living selfish lives. He’s also warned them about false teachers who either put too much or too little emphasis on adhering to God’s law [Philippians 3:2, 19].
The way to combat these threats is to “stand firm in the Lord”.
This earth is filled with different cultures. Even countries have different subcultures. And of course, no two people are alike even in the same family. This is by God’s design. We are all different because God made us this way.
There are over 10,000 species of birds. There are 16,000 species of mushrooms. There are over 30,000 species of fish. There are over 950,000 species of insects! He loves diversity and built it into our planet. He is the originator of celebrating diversity.
But He also wants harmony. Unfortunately, human beings will often find any excuse to create disharmony – almost always for selfish reasons. God calls on His children to maintain harmony by focusing on Him.
By keeping our minds focused on the Lord – even while maintaining our individualness – Christians will be united and will not be susceptible to the implicit and explicit lies the world continually throws at us [Philippians 1:27-28].
The world around us is in a constant state of change. People come and go in our lives, as do leaders and the directions they set for us. Our financial stability fluctuates based on the economy. Even our health is not constantly stable. There are also, as Paul pointed out, many false teachings in the world trying to undermine our spiritual stability.
But God commands His children to stand “firm”. He does not want us to be unsettled or insecure. The only way this can happen is if we are rooted in something or someone that is strong and completely stable.
God wouldn’t command us to do this if it were not possible. It is possible for believers to stand firmly united, but there is only one such place in the universe we can do so: “in the Lord”.
If we build our lives on fame, money, government, or false teaching we will be unstable because these things change constantly. But God is unchanging [Hebrews 13:8; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17, et.al]. He is our rock and strong place of refuge [Psalm 18:2].
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