Paul was concerned that the Philippians might “set their minds on earthly things” (Phil 3:19). Satan is astute at providing the right temptation, the wrong way of thinking, arguments justifying bitterness, or various convincing reasons to become a spectator or bystander in the kingdom of God.
Paul gave them the key to faithfulness: make heaven their primary citizenship. Anticipating the second coming of Christ, we should not waste time on anything that does not please Him (3:20), and we should know that “He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (3:21).
Jesus can be trusted (Rom 8:28), and being faithful is reasonable.
Helping new believers was Paul’s passion, as when he and Barnabas decided to return to Asia, “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:22).
Paul exhorted his friends with endearing phrases: “my brothers and sisters, dear friends whom I long to see, my joy and crown.” He loved the believers in Philippi. They were his family. Do our fellow believers feel they are our family?
The Philippians were “dear friends” that Paul longed to spend time with. Do we spend time with our church members, disciples, or Bible study group? Paul also saw them as his “joy and crown.”
His hope for reward at the judgment seat of Christ was to be with the ones he led to Christ. This is all Paul desires.
He asked them to “stand in the Lord in this way”—-that is, persevere. Verses 2–-9 describe seven practical principles for spiritual stability: harmony among believers, an attitude of joy, contentment, rest in faith, prayer, godly virtues, and obedience.
The phrase “in the Lord” refers to obedience to the commands of His word. Earlier, Paul had told them to “let [their] conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries” (Phil 1:27–-28a). How would you measure your stand for Christ, His word, and His purpose?
“Dear God, There are times when it is not easy to stand up for Your honor and Your word. Too often I am more concerned about this world’s opinion of me than I am about Yours. Help me live for the day when I’ll see You.”
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