Paul exhorts the readers in his letter to Philippi to “stand firm in the Lord” Philippians 4:1

What did he mean by this and how does this command apply to us? I love digging deep into Paul’s letters to the churches. So much of the exhortation he gave back then still holds so much value and wisdom for how we, as believers, can live for God in our world today. 

If we keep reading in this chapter, we see some very specific commands that Paul gives the people in Philippi for how they are to stand firm in the faith.

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Bible Verses About Standing Firm in the Lord

Let’s first take a look at the verses in Philippians chapter 4 that give us an outline for how to stand firm in the Lord.

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, whom I long to see, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also, help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement as well as the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

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6 Ways to Stand Firm in the Lord 

The commands we see within these verses are the ingredients we need to stand firm in what we believe. Let’s go through and look at each of them.

1. Live in Harmony with other Believers 

In verse 2, we see Paul begin this section by encouraging the believers to help two of the women in their church to live in harmony. 

If we look at the original word for harmony, it means “of the same mind, to have understanding”.

Throughout the book of Philippians, we see how Paul encouraged them to be of the same mind and to have the same attitude as Christ. 

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; – Philippians 2:1-3

As believers, our goal should be to love God and love others. If we keep these two things as our focus, we will naturally be living in harmony with others.

Harmony begins to break down when we choose to follow after our own pride and preferences, instead of love and sacrifice.

Let’s choose, instead, to love.

2. Rejoice in the Lord Always 

Rejoice/joy is another theme we see threaded throughout, not only in the book of Philippians but also, in the whole New Testament. Rejoicing in the Lord is one of the greatest ways to stand firm in the Lord.

In fact, our greatest reason and source for joy is the gospel (the good news) itself.

Luke 2:10-11 – And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

As believers, we are never without a reason to be thankful. No matter the depth of the valley, we can place our hope on what we know our future holds for us.

3. Let Your Gentle Spirit Be Known

Ugh. This one got me.

I liked the wording of the KJV for this one. It says “let your moderation be known…” Other words used are “seemly, mild, equitable, fair, patient”. 

This is the temperament we should maintain and make known to “all people”. That includes husbands. Our children. 

I think it’s easier to show this side of ourselves to the people outside of our own homes. We get relaxed and comfortable with the members of our own family. 

The Lord convicted me that the people closest to me are the ones to who I should be making the greatest effort in “making my gentle spirit known”.

4. Do Not Be Anxious, But Prayerful and Thankful

The first thing that stood out to me in this verse was the word “but”. Do not be anxious about anything, BUT in everything…

“But” is a contrasting word. It shows us how things are opposite. The opposite of anxiety is prayer!

I also saw that there are three specific components contrasted to anxiety:

  1.  Prayer
  2. Supplication
  3. Thanksgiving

Are these 3 all the same thing? If not, how are they different?

If we were to go back to the original language we see that the word used for “prayer” is general prayer. It’s bringing our attention to God. 

The word “supplication” is a specific request. 

So as we look at this verse a bit deeper, we see that there is a progression of prayer that leads us away from anxiety.

  • Prayer – brings us to God
  • Supplication – brings our request before Him
  • Thanksgiving – brings us to a place of faith and trust in Him

5. Stand Firm in the Lord by Thinking Right Thoughts

Verses 8-9 tell us the right things that we should fix our minds on. I went and looked at all the antonyms (opposite) of each of the things listed and then re-wrote the verse, substituting the antonym for each word. Here is what I came up with:

“Whatever is a lie, whatever is shameful, whatever is wrong, whatever is defiled, whatever is ugly, whatever is disgraceful, if there is anything appalling or worthy of condemnation, stop thinking about these things.”

This helps to give us a different perspective and to see all the ways we need to change our thoughts. What we think about is important because how we think directly affects how we live. What we think about ourselves, others, and the circumstances around us will shape our actions and responses.

When a thought comes knockin on the door of your mind, give it this test:

  • is it true?
  • is it honorable?
  • is it right?
  • is it pure?
  • is it lovely?
  • is it commendable?
  • is it excellent and worthy of praise?

Stand firm in the Lord

6. Put to Practice What You Have Learned

Paul tells them to practice the things that they have learned from Him. This reminds me of a verse in James.

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. – James 1:22-25

I believe this is the point that Paul was making. Knowledge of God’s Word does nothing for us if we don’t put it to practice in our lives. 

Let’s not be forgetful hearers, but effectual doers! We can begin with putting these verses in Philippians 4 to practice by standing firm in the Lord.

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