Friday, June 29, 2018
Philippians 4:1 … stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Several years ago my wife and I were blessed to be able to invite our family and some friends to join us at a beautiful home on Stone Lake in northern Wisconsin. Fishing was a top priority for some of us, so every morning and evening we were out in the boats trying to land the big one. One of the guys had brought a big tri-hull boat with an inboard motor. This boat made a huge wake when it was on the move. We also had a small aluminum fishing boat with a 3-horsepower motor on the back. My brother’s son was using the little boat, and was on his way to his fishing spot when the big boat took off from the dock on its way across the lake. They came a little too close to the small boat, and the wake came dangerously close to swamping the little boat. My nephew said he was really close to capsizing. If he had been in his fishing spot and standing on the seat like he usually did when he fished, he would have been thrown overboard. If he had wanted to stand firm in the waves, he would have needed a bigger boat.
There are three big boats on the lake of our lives that are making waves in an attempt to capsize us and send us overboard. These boats are constantly driving by us, rocking our boats and causing us to lose our balance. We may have even been capsized by them a time or two, or we may even be in the process right now of trying to right the boat so we can climb back in. But these three boats just keep coming, circling us and laughing at us as we try to get stable.
If we look closely we can make out the names written on the sides of each boat – there’s The World, The Flesh, and The Devil.
The World is tempting. It’s a beautiful boat with all the latest equipment, and furnished in luxury. It exudes pleasure.
The Flesh is powerful. It has twin 250 horsepower motors on the back and is built for speed. It quickly moves from one side of our boat to the other creating a tempest that rocks us in all different directions.
The Devil is aggressive. This boat is built for destruction, and is capable of sinking most boats if they ever took a direct hit. It has cannons mounted on its bow to shoot flaming arrows that could burn boats up if they were hit.
Any one of these boats is capable of capsizing us, and at the very least causing us some major instability in our lives. How can we begin to stand firm? What chance do we have?
Paul says the key to standing firm is to put into practice what he has just written in Philippians 3. That’s why he starts this verse with the word therefore. Whenever we see that word in the Bible we must go back and review what has just been said because what is about to be said is an action statement based on the previous truths and principles. We can stand firm if we understand the truths that have just been stated. Here they are:
- We have a bigger boat than theirs. Paul says that all the equipment and luxury of The World is rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ. Our boat is bigger and better than The World.
- We have a more powerful boat than theirs. We have twin engines too – the power of Christ’s resurrection and the power of Christ to bring everything under His control. We have more power than The Flesh.
- Our boat is indestructible. One day our boat will be called in for refitting at the heavenly port. It will have faithfully served its purpose and it will be transformed into a perfect vessel for all eternity to match the glory of Christ Himself. The Devil may be aggressive and destructive, but he cannot sink my boat nor can he burn it up.
Stand tall on your boat. The waves cannot swamp you. Besides, you’re not the captain of your boat. Trust the One who is. He can calm the waves and bring you safely to shore.