Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! (Philippians 4:1)
At work, we often talk about verbing words. That is, to take a noun and verb it (as I’m doing with the word verb in this sentence).
Two examples are journal (We often hear people make statements like, “I journal every day.”) Another word that can be used as a verb but is much disliked as a verb (seriously – even my dictionary says people detest it) is “impact.” “The chart impacted the results.”
Last week when I taught the Bible study, I verbed Philippians 4. Not that any of the words I talked about weren’t verbs in the first place, but I emphasized how many great verbs there are in that chapter that should be part of our everyday lives.
When I talked, I was talking to myself as much as everyone else in the room because I needed the reminder as much as anyone. (Because, to be completely honest here, after I had finished writing down my notes for my lesson, I had a complete meltdown, forgetting everything I had just studied. Fortunately, I was by myself and only the Lord was aware of my feelings and fortunately, He’s into extreme patience – but it’s interesting how quickly we can forget what we should do.)
I thought I’d go over the verbs in my MONDAY MORNING posts.
#1 STAND FIRM. We often talk about standing firm as in sticking up for what we believe in and know is correct, and that IS a vital aspect of standing firm.
But I think it can also mean staying on track with all the other verbs in the chapter (like rejoicing, guarding our minds, being content), etc. Paul began his instructions with the admonition to stand firm and then he continues by telling us all the ways we need to do so.
Ok, I wasn’t standing this week, I was driving, but I went through an experience where I certainly needed to stay on track.
On one of my myriad routes home from work, I go through a tiny town that is an interesting combination of old houses built in the 1800s and new million dollar horse farms. The town is quaint and the people living in the town are proud of their quaintness in the midst of the Home Depot-and-Wal-Mart bordered towns around them. To help you appreciate the quaintness, they have a 25 mile an hour speed limit on all their roads and that includes the main highway that goes through the middle of their town. Because not much crime happens in their quaintness, their policeman (or maybe they have two or three) don’t really have much to do but catch people who ignore the 25 mph. I have driven through there every day during a week and have seen a police with a speeding car each one of the days.
The thing is most drivers don’t mind when you slow down because anyone who drives through the town regularly knows the importance of following the speed limit.
But this week, the driver of the red sports car that zoomed up behind me obviously hadn’t gotten the message. He did not like my speed. He decided to lean on his horn and get so close that I’m sure he bumped my fender once. (Where are those ever-watching police when you need them?) I looked ahead and kept going at the same speed.
Oh, he was angry. Again he came alarmingly close and then decided to pull up next to me and see what he could do about running me off the road.
I simply kept driving, slow, steady and straight. I didn’t even look at him (which I’m sure angered him even more because I’m guessing he had some gestures he wanted to show me).
He then pulled in front of me with about an inch to spare and took off down the road. Amazingly he didn’t get caught and other than being a little shaken, I was ok. (By the way, this experience had nothing to do with my car being scratched as I mentioned in my last post – it wasn’t a great week for my car.)
But the guy in the sports car reminded me of “standing firm.” He wanted me to go over the speed limit and when I wouldn’t do that, he wanted me off the road altogether. I simply kept saying to myself: Slow and steady, straight ahead.
And sometimes in life we need to remember that,too. When discouragement, discontent or some other nagging problem is in danger of pushing us off the path, we need to remember to stand firm, stay on track and slowly, steadily move straight ahead within the boundaries God has set for us.
(Oh, wait a minute, I’ve heard someone else say “Stay straight with the Lord.)
I need to Philippianize my life and STAND FIRM.