“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”
To my surprise, after high school, I found a passion for history. One particular empire that always stimulates my mind is the Roman Empire. Primarily because of their military tactics and genius. One particular tactic was the Tortoise Formation – where a group of soldiers would raise their shields to form a tortoise shell. If the soldier’s stood firm, the enemy could not harm them. The Roman soldier knew what it was to stand firm.
The city of Philippi was basically a retirement village for ex-pat Roman soldiers, hardened men who knew exactly what it meant to stand firm as a communal unit so that the enemy could not cause harm. So, when Paul wrote to the Philippian church to stand firm in the Lord, in the face of those who are enemies of the Cross, as a communal unit – they would have really grasped Paul’s strong command to daily and actively stand firm in the Lord.
Make a fresh cup of coffee, find a quiet space, take your Bible and turn to the Book of Philippians. Once there, consider these questions:
- We are not Roman soldiers, so how can we know exactly what it means to stand firm in the Lord as a communal unit?
- What is at stake if the church does not stand firm?
- How is the church attacked?
- What happens when the church is attacked?
Therefore, how do we stand firm? We need to stand firm in the Lord, which is to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) as seen in Philippians 2:6-8. For a community that is made up of people with a mind that is set on humility and reconciliation, upholding the needs and love for others, will be a solid unit.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, through the working and power of your Spirit, give us renew hearts and minds that are formed with the mind of Christ, that we can stand firm in the Lord. Give us a heart set on humility. Give us the courage to go seek reconciliation. Give us a passion for the needs of others. And give us the strength to unconditionally and wholeheartedly to love. Amen.
Robert Oscroft Swan
Young Adult Pastor of Summerstrand United Church
69 ErasmusRoad, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
082 689 7696