top of page

Stand Strong, Man! Philippians 4 

Take a minute to read please: 

We are opening one of the most joy-filled, hope-filled, promise-filled chapters in the entire Bible. Often, when someone says 'I really don't understand too much about the Bible--could you point me to something to read?' I point them here, Philippians chapter four, suggesting they underline what speaks to them.

We will savor these closing remarks of Paul to his Philippian friends. While he intersperses some specifics to those he is writing, including mentioning two women who needed help in getting 'on the same page', there is clear encouragement, even admonition, we must grab ahold of for ourselves.

So, with joy in his heart and a gleam in his eye, Paul writes: "Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!"*  'Any doubt about how he felt about them? None.

'Stand fast in the Lord'. Those three words in the Lord are key.  Paul is not saying 'be tough, because you are made of strong stock. You can do this because you are well educated and tough!  Come on, you are a fighter, get going!  Paul is saying,  stand fast or stand firm in the Lord -

because he is strong,  

he will give you strength,  

he is all you need,

and because he alone is TRUTH on which you can stand.  

Yesterday I went to a Vintage Market in Raleigh with my daughter, Amy. Besides breathing in the rarified air of treasures old and new, I had some delightful conversations with people I encountered, though one was disturbing. The vendor crafted unique pieces from birch trunks, with cheerful interchangeable silk flowers, chickens, greenery, etc...really cool. (pictured on my mantel) 'Where's home?' I asked, as I was paying. 'Lancaster, Pennsylvania.' (hmmm, Amish country, I thought). 'So are you people of faith?' 'No,' the wife quickly and emphatically replied. 'Not so much,' her husband tried to soften his response. 'Uh, we used to be,' he said. 'What happened--is it okay if I ask?' I quietly inquired.

Turns out he had been a minister, even a missionary for some time, but wanted nothing to do with it anymore. Why? They were turned off by the hypocrisy they experienced in the 'Church' at the hands of its leaders. 'Our apostles would interpret Scripture one way, going so far as to say something was going to take place, and then when it did not, they changed their story--suddenly, the Scripture meant something different.'

Think, think, think, how to respond.

I leaned in, 'So get rid of the Church then, but surely not the Lord, right?' I smiled. She wasn't buying it; he was a little more approachable.

What might have happened with these two 35-ish year olds? Same thing that is happening all around us; the popular term is Deconstruction--the dismantling of faith for various reasons. People have practiced or been a part of some kind of organized faith/religion--perhaps something they grew up with... but something happens and shakes, discourages, dissuades or offends them, and they pull away, turning their backs on the God who loves them, not just the religion or the person who offended them.

The reasons are varied, of course, but in some cases, they never really knew what they believed or that what they believed was reliable - based on biblical truth, both reliable and verifiable.

Hurt by the Church, people equate their bad experience with God. They get rid of the Church or 'organized religion' as many are wont to call it, and the relationship they once held dear. How the heart of God aches for those who distance themselves from him--especially because of abuse(s) done in his name.

Picture with me Paul, composing these thoughts from his heart to yours, (or maybe to my vintage friends aforementioned), 'Stand firm in the Lord. . . let nothing cause your faith to waver.'                

With love in my heart, compassion in my mind, I say the same to you, 'Stand firm in your belief in and trust of the God of the Universe. Do not be pulled away by human beings, errant teaching or horrible behavior by ministers or church leaders.

While much around us seems to rest on sinking sand, one thing is rock solid.  My hope is in the Lord, and I stand fast in him because He alone is trustworthy. Biblical Christianity is a historic faith based on the reality of a real person who lived, taught, loved, worked the miraculous and forever changed the trajectory of the world and every human being by dying a tortuous death on the cross, and doing what he said he would do--defeat the grave on the third day.  

In these first four verses, please do not miss the clear command:  rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 'Always' means all the time, anywhere and everywhere, no matter the circumstances.  Paul could command it of other believers because he demanded it of himself.  Paul rejoiced in the Lord by intention and regardless of his personal circumstances.

Check this out--your attention, please: Paul wrote 'Stand firm in the Lord.' When you and I choose to be in the Lord, when we choose to be and live as a Christian, we are God's joy and crown.  When we choose to be in the Lord, he makes all things right; when we live our lives in the Lord, we can and are able to rejoice in him, no matter the circumstances.  

Living life in the Lord is the only answer.

Standing on Solid Ground,


Philippians, #20


* Philippians 4.1

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page