Philippians 4:1 “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!”
A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a dear friend. “My Baby’s Coming Home!” the subject line read. My friend’s daughter, who lives in Iceland and has not been home since 2002, will be home for Christmas. My friend’s ecstatic joy in this news displays her deep love for her child. Her daughter, her joy, her crown in this life – whom she longs for deeply – is coming home!
In much the same way, Paul loved the Philippians dearly. He longed for them. The very thought of them brought him joy. Just as the victor in a race would be given a crown of laurel leaves as a trophy, a testimony to that athlete’s success, the Philippian church was a testimony to Paul’s success in ministry. They were his crown.
He tells his beloved Philippians, “that is how you should stand firm.” He refers to his previous verses, reminding them to keep their minds focused on heavenly things, to press forward toward the goal of becoming like Christ. He knew that Satan would try to sway them, try to lead them astray. There were false teachers everywhere, trying to do just that.
The same dangers exist for us today. Satan throws distractions at us from every side, but we must stand firm! The way to stand firm is to stay focused on Christ, to stay connected to Him through prayer and Bible study, and to keep our minds on our goal – the goal of becoming exactly who God created us to be. When we hold fast to our faith in Christ – pressing on, resisting Satan, never giving up – we become the joy and crown of our Heavenly Father.
Dear Father, I want to be a joy and a crown to You. Please help me to stand firm.