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)
The books of the Bible weren’t written with chapter and verse notations. Those were inserted much later by Biblical scholars and translators. (The chapters we use today were developed in the 13th century, with the further division into verses appearing roughly 200 years after that).
While the division of Scripture into chapters and verses is vital for Biblical study (can you imagine trying to reference a portion of Scripture otherwise?), it can detract from the flow of the message. It invites us to study God’s Word in bits and pieces instead of as a whole. (This is why it is much better to read the Bible a book at a time.)
Sometimes – not often, but occasionally – the chapter and verse splits are in odd places. Philippians 4:1 is one of those places. Thematically it fits better at the end of chapter 3, summing up the reason for our standing firm in the Lord.
What gives this away? The word “therefore”. Paul is telling us that, because of the message he has just shared, we have every reason to stand firm in the Lord.
And just what is that reason?
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 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. 1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. – Philippians 3:17-4:1 (ESV)
Our reason to stand firm in Christ is because of the promise of salvation, of heavenly citizenship, of transformation, by His power “that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.” In other words, God is in control. God is reality. The Lord is our firm foundation. We have nothing but hope in Him, and every reason to stand firm.
When our minds are set on the junk of this world, we are led away from God. We are tempted with desires and lusts and anger and worry and fear and doubt… We get so wrapped up in our little worlds that we forget God created this place to be beautiful, to be with Him. (Adam and Eve spoiled that for all generations since.)
We forget Who is important.
We forget Who is control.
We forget God.
And that’s a problem.
Remember always that God is our firm foundation, never changing, ever faithful (even when we are not), ever steadfast, ever true. Nothing in this material world has any worth when compared to our Creator. Despite the troubles, despite the storms, despite our worries and fears, God is in control. He says what is and isn’t.
In that we can all find great comfort, knowing our lives are in the hands of a loving God, Who has a plan for us – even in our deepest need or pain or loss.
Therefore, rest in the Lord. Stand firm in Him always. You have every reason to trust Him with every aspect of your life.