Every Christian Is Liable to be spiritually poisoned by the atmosphere which permeates this present evil world. Like a wise and skillful physician, Paul has prescribed effective antidotes for three symptoms produced by the spiritual poisons to which the Christian is exposed.
The Antidote For Declension
“Stand fast in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1). The Christian life demands courage and fortitude. There is a real danger of cowering and wavering in the face of opposition. When foes are arrayed against us and the battle is fierce, desertion is a distinct possibility.
We need to listen afresh to this timely appeal for resolute steadfastness. The proverbial qualities of the Spartan are to be in evidence, regardless of the strength of the enemy. The evil armies of error are advancing with fury. We dare not give ground!
Principle must never be sacrificed for expediency. If we are to become the “joy and crown” of another’s ministry, we shall have to be vigilant, vigorous Christians, overcoming instead of succumbing, resisting instead of yielding, withstanding instead of retreating. In this day of widespread departure and compromise, this message is surely seasonable — “stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”
The Antidote For Dissension
“Be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). In this exemplary church at Philippi, two ladies were at variance — two ladies who are commended for their noble support and labour in the spread of the gospel. How sad, yet how common! Differences will always arise, but these must not be allowed to spoil the harmony of our fellowship.
Recognizing that we belong to the same Lord, let the sweet ministry of reconciliation have its perfect way with us, that there “be no schism in the body” (1 Cor. 12:25). Strained personal relations among the Lord’s people should be adjusted without delay, lest they produce a withering bitterness that is the negation of every Christian grace.
The Lord’s wise instruction on this theme should be studied more and obeyed. Whether offender (Matt. 5:23-24), or offended (Matt. 18:15), you are required to act in order to win your brother. Let us examine our own hearts and circumstances as we read these words again. “Be of the same mind in the Lord.”
The Antidote For Depression
“Rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 4:4). The pressures of modern life need not rob us of our joy. Constant communion with the Lord will ensure an equanimity that will enable us to withstand these pressures. We live in an “age of anxiety” when many are despondent; Paul’s exhortation has particular relevance. Our joy is independent of time or circumstance; it is both “in the Lord” and “always”.
While on earth, the Lord Jesus exercised a cheering ministry. Often He drove depression and gloom away with His “be of good cheer.” His pardon, presence, power, and protection are all guaranteed to His own (Matt. 9:2, Mk. 6:50, Jn. 16:33, Acts 23:11).
Paul referred to those “whose names are in the book of life” (Phil. 4:3). Here is ground for rejoicing. To those disciples who were exultant over their subjection of demons, the Lord replied, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Lk. 10:20).
Let us heed these appeals as commands which require our immediate and implicit obedience, for “THE LORD IS AT HAND” (Phil. 4:5).