STANDING FIRM IN THE LORD
Lord, strengthen me so that I can stand fast in You.
Read PHILIPPIANS 4:1–9
Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity
4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24). He is our Rock!
Unity among believers is essential for a healthy church and a testimony to the world. Paul urges two women in the Philippian church “to be of the same mind in the Lord” (2)—something that he has stressed repeatedly. Realizing that they may need help, Paul asks a third party to mediate (3). This “true companion” is anonymous, but perhaps Paul is referring to the Philippian church as a single entity to help these two women reconcile. The ministry of reconciliation—between believers but also between humans and God—features prominently in the teachings of both Jesus and Paul.
Paul encourages three attitudes in verses 4–6. First, he wants the Philippians to be joyful “in the Lord” because belonging to Christ and knowing him brings joy, irrespective of circumstances. Second, they are to strive to be gentle (i.e., kind, courteous) to “all,” regardless of status. Third, because everyone is prone to anxiety at times, Paul urges his readers to pray “with thanksgiving” to the one who takes care of the birds and the flowers. The result will be God’s all-encompassing peace, protecting those who are “in Christ Jesus” (7).
In verse 8, Paul urges the Philippians to focus their minds on specific virtues and practice them: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. These moral qualities were not unique to Christianity—they were also promoted in Greco-Roman culture—so Paul seems to appeal to a sense of natural morality here. In addition to these natural moral qualities, Paul urges the Philippians to practice everything they have learned, received, heard, and seen in him (9), echoing his earlier directive to imitate him.
Paul’s directive “to stand firm in the Lord” (1) includes maintaining unity, developing valuable attitudes, and practicing moral qualities. Reflect on how you can stand firm in the Lord.
Lord, flood my burdened heart with the peace which passes all understanding coming down directly from heaven.
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