October 9, 2011
Dean Niferatos reports that it was a routine morning on the Number 22 CTA bus in Chicago. Office workers, restless punkers and affluent shoppers filled the seats and crowded the aisles. At the Clark and Webster stop, two men and a woman climbed aboard. The driver, a seasoned veteran, immediately bellowed, “Everybody watch your valuables. There are pickpockets on board.”
Women clutched their purses tightly. Men put their hands on their wallets. All eyes fixed on the trio, who looked insulted and harassed but didn’t break stride as they promptly exited through the middle doors.
We are warned in the Bible of an eternal enemy and that we face the danger of succumbing to this foe. This is a time to be unquestionably decisive in our Christian walk.
Exhorted to Stand Fast (v. 1)
Standing fast is the idea of remaining strong. Know the truth and remain firm in your convictions. Don’t waver. Stay on track.
Most believers do not like conflict, but being a Christian puts us right in the middle of it! The apostle had reminded the Philippian believers that the adversaries would be seeking to “terrify” them (
We are not to take lightly our enemy. We are warned in
Encouraged to Stand Fast (v. 1)
Philippians 4 begins with the word therefore. It is a transition word that means the following statements are built on the previous foundational statements.
Paul’s own testimony is one of “pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Then he writes, “Follow my example and the examples of others who so walk.” Then he reminds us “our citizenship is in heaven,” that Jesus is coming again, and that we are going to have new bodies conformed to His glorious body. It follows in the theme of the apostle John. “Now are we the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him!”
The Practicality of Standing Fast (vv. 3-9)
What does standing fast look like? It is not merely a theoretical position, for our Christian faith always must be fleshed out in the attitudes and relationships of life in a practical way.
The apostle addresses a conflict in the Philippian church and tells two women to work out their differences and make up. These were not peripheral participants in ministry, for they had labored with the apostle in propagating the gospel, but Christian service is no substitute for Christian unity. To stand fast, we must be united in heart and purpose.
Serving one another is involved in standing fast. The imperative to help suggests continuous, repeated action. Therefore, the idea of guarding against conflict and doing what is necessary to assist one another is to become a lifestyle.
Joy and cheerfulness is to be a way of life because it is rooted in an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. The expectancy of the Lord’s return results in a witness of gentleness and moderation.
Paul continued to address practical applications of standing fast in the Lord. Don’t worry. Be prayerful. Dwell on the right thoughts. One’s thought life will determine whether one stands or falls. “Sow a thought, reap an deed. Sow a deed, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a lifestyle. Sow a lifestyle, reap a destiny.”
In Florence, Italy, a young artist labored long and hard over a marble statue of an angel. When finished, he asked Michelangelo to examine it. The young artist concealed himself. No master looked over the work more carefully. It was perfect in every way. The young artist waited. His heart nearly broke when he heard, “It lacks only one thing.”
For days the artist could not eat or sleep until a friend called on Michelangelo at his studio and asked him what he thought. “It lacks only life.”
We have been placed on earth with all that’s needed for a wonderful life of service to God, others and a life of fulfillment. It is the breath of God, provided through Jesus Christ our Lord, that is the essence of the life that stands fast.