Follow: To Love and to Strengthen

Based on Philippians 4:1-3

Philippians 4.1-3Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:1-3 (KJV)

“…my dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown…” How would you feel if a friend sent you a letter that said this? To hear that you are dearly beloved and longed for, that you were their “joy and crown?” If it didn’t creep you out, it would feel really good, wouldn’t it? Now what if this was one of the most influential, God-fearing, kind, and totally tough people you knew? What if he invited you, a weak and obviously less spiritual person, to follow his powerful example—to take part in his ministry?

Meet Paul. He sends this message, a description of his awesome dedication to Christ. He then proceeds to tell a bunch of no-names that they cause him to have joy, and they are the reward of his spiritual walk to this point. And he says, “So stand fast in the Lord.” Stand just like he stood and stands. This is not just a call, but also an encouragement that they can be mighty men of God as well—a statement of belief in the church.

What about us? What is our “joy and crown?” What is our relation to the church? Do we love it? Do we believe in it? Let us accept his call, to stand, love, and to believe; and let us strengthen the gift God has given us in His church.

—Ethan Smith


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