Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. (Philippians 4:1)
You can feel the love that Paul had for the Philippians when you read that verse. Anyone would delight in being spoken to in such a way, but the proof of Paul’s love isn’t in these terms of affection. The true proof of Paul’s love is found in the other things he says there, and it’s in what is still coming.
Paul knew that Philippi was full of idolatry, and there were pagan practices all around. Some worshipped the emperor and others worshipped Egyptian gods. He understood that this church needed encouragement. Paul encourages his beloved friends to “stand firm”, but he doesn’t leave them wondering how. That first verse of Philippians chapter 4 is so simple but it should fill us with hope. Paul’s actual words are “in this way, stand firm”. He is going to reveal the way they can stand firm! Paul continues on in verses 3 and 4 and in them he mentions his brothers and sisters by name and encourages them to live in “harmony in the Lord”. He acknowledges their contribution to the work of the early church in that they shared in Paul’s “struggle in the cause of the gospel” and goes on to say that their names are written in the book of life.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
How awesome! Harmony with the Lord! We are called to stand firm and to live in harmony with the Lord, but just how do we do that? The very next verse contains such a powerful but simple instruction that we almost read right over it without noticing it, but it is the very heart of Paul’s message, and real evidence of love:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
Rejoice! To stand firm and live in harmony with the Lord we need to rejoice in Him! This word for rejoice in the greek is chairo. It means to be glad, to be well, to take exceeding joy in, to be strong in, and to thrive! Hidden in these few verses is the implication of a profound truth... when we have low joy, or even worse, no joy, we cannot stand firm. Nehemiah 8:10 says:
The joy of the Lord is my strength.
Friend, it’s so easy to spend time speculating on what’s going on in the world. Many of us are asking the questions “how long will this last?” or “is there something worse than isolation coming?”. The truth is, only God knows the answers to these questions but we can count on one thing. Regardless of what is on the other side of tomorrow we can stand firm in our faith, and live in harmony with the Lord and one another by rejoicing in Jesus. Rejoicing is a choice we make. We go to the feet of our Savior, look Him full in His wonderful face, We give Him thanks and praise because of Who He is! Let us go to the source of all joy, and let us pray together.
Forgive us when we take our eyes off of You, and place them on the craziness and uncertainty of the world. Help us to rejoice in You so that we can stand firm. We want others to see our rejoicing in the midst of trouble that they would want to know You too! Help us to take Joy in You , Our King! In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
For more encouragement read, meditate, and pray on Psalm 66, and Galatians 5:22-23.