Philippians 4:1. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Paul moves us from press on (day 287) to stand firm – the two necessary postures of the believer in Christ. Running from standing. Striving from rest. Gaining from grace. Working out from worked in.
Once when my son was very little we lost him in one of those big warehouse stores. He was supposed to stand firm right next to us, but when we looked up he was gone. Let me assure you that we didn’t wait for him to find us, I went looking for him, to get him back. Don’t worry, we did.
Notice that Philippians 4:1 starts with a “therefore.” This means we must look back and see what Paul just said before admonishing us to stand firm.
Philippians 3:20-21. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Like a lost little boy waiting to be found, our King, Jesus, is coming to get us. So don’t move. Stand firm. He’s on the way! Don’t wander around, you’ll only get more lost.
When Jesus comes back everything (and I mean everything) will be made right again. Whatever is hanging over your head today. Whatever fear. Whatever disgrace. Whatever temptation. Whatever sorrow. It will all be made subject to the transforming love of Jesus. Our lowly bodies will be like his glorious body. We will be healed in both body and spirit resulting in a transformed glorious soul living in the love and light of God forever.
But until that day many things will compete for your heart and mind. The temptation to stand firm, rooted in anything other than the future grace of Jesus’ return, is great. Lesser hopes promise a firm foundation, and yet in time they all fail or fade away. The hope of promotion, the hope of romance, the hope of relief, these can sustain us for a second, but they can never carry the full burden of our war weary souls. Successes and failures. Joys and sorrows. Triumphs and tragedies. Each is used by the Enemy to cause us to wander around looking for something to tether our lives to. But Jesus says, “Stand firm, I’m coming for you, and I am with you. You are IN THE LORD! Stand firm IN ME!”
But how do we stand firm? What does this standing firm look like?
Philippians 4:4-7. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Standing firm looks like rejoicing.
When our joy is no longer linked to our circumstances or our condition, but is found in our position in Christ, it will result in rejoicing publicly (that’s what the word means – a public celebration). When we stand in Christ there is always a reason to celebrate, no matter how hard life gets.
Standing firm looks like reasonableness.
This word means kindness or gentleness. When we are standing in the hope of Christ’s return for us there is no longer any reason to be a jerk. There’s no need to fight for our own way if Jesus’ way is alive in our hearts.
Standing firm does not look like anxiety.
Paul’s not talking about neurophysiological anxiety disorders here. He’s talking about the situational anxiety that increases as we fail to stand in the hope of the ruling, reigning, and returning king of the universe. If Jesus is coming back to subject all things to himself (3:21) then there’s not too much left for us to worry about, is there?
Standing firm looks like prayer and thanksgiving.
Prayer and gratitude are the two marks of standing firm in complete dependence on God. Because apart from Christ I can do nothing, I will pray. And because through me Christ does everything, I will give thanks.
Standing firm looks like peace.
The peace of God is beyond all human understanding. Why? Because it takes us beyond what we can see and feel. The peace OF God flows directly from our peace WITH God through our reconciliation with him at the cross. Now it guards our hearts and minds IN Christ. Knowing we have a secure future with our God keeps us from spiraling into despair or into apathy. Nothing is a “big deal,” and nothing is “no big deal.” Everything is what it is. And Christ rules it all. That’s peace.
“To live is Christ” is to stand firm in the life altering hope of his glorious return for us one day. A future hope that allows us to respond to our present reality with all faith, hope, love, joy, and peace.
What are you standing firm in today?
You in Christ
How does knowing that we are in Christ allow us to stand firm in his return for us?
Christ in you
Where in your life do you need to stand firm today?