Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
- Philippians 4:1
"Stand firm" is a repeated refrain in the Scriptures.
From the story of the Israelites escape from Egypt (Exodus 14) to the songs of God's people (Psalm 20:8, Psalm 30:7) and in the prophetic literature (Isaiah 7:9 "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."). Jesus repeats this refrain in each of the synoptic gospels (Mt. 10:33, Mk. 13:13 and Lk. 21:19) and it's all over the writings of Paul and James and Peter.
Stand firm in the Lord.
This is an exhortation for our own formation. God does something in us as we endure. This is a decision we each have to make, sometimes in our darkest days and hardest moments, and no one can make the decision for us.
But this is also an exhortation for our community. Just as we like to say that Chatham Church is an "all y'all" church, Paul's exhortation here is an "all y'all" exhortation: they are to stand firm as a community together in the Lord. We most strongly stand firm when we stand with each other.
Some of us are desperately trying to stand firm while also trying to stand alone. We have a relationship with Christ but are alone in our family or alone in our workplace or alone in our school.
Sometimes we have to get creative with how to stand firm in community. Maybe there aren't any other Jesus-followers in your family or at your work place or school. But that doesn't mean you have to stand alone. It just means that you have to be creative and resourceful with ways to ask for help.
Find a wing-man or a wing-woman who you can touch base with regularly. Text each other prayer requests and Scriptures. Hold one another accountable for how you want to live in those places. Pray for each other's co-workers or neighbors or family members.
Prayerfully generate a high-resolution picture of what it would look like to stand firm wherever God has you and then share it with that person who will help you.
And then, both of y'all, stand firm in the Lord together.
Who can we stand with? Who can you reach out to so they don't have to stand alone?
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