“… stay true to the Lord.” Philippians 4:1a (NLT)
How do you stay true to God? Concerned that Christ followers in Philippi may wander from the faith, Paul writes this closing challenge to them, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. …” Philippians 4:1 (NLT)
With that challenge he gives practical counsel as to how to stay true to God:
First, whenever you see the word therefore in the Bible, you want to ask yourself the question: “What’s it there for?” Look back to the previous verses. In Philippians 3:20-21 Paul says, “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under His control.” We can stay true to God when we keep our focus on Jesus and remember that this world is not our home. One day, Jesus is coming back and will bring everything under His control.
Second, we can stay true when we pray about everything. In Philippians 4:6-7 he adds, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Third, think about the right things. In verse 8 the Bible says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Vs. 8) We fix our thoughts when we think about the right things, things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. You can’t do that if you’re fixing your thoughts on the news all day.
Fourth, learn to be content. In verses 11-13, he offers a personal tip that has helped him stay true to God. He says, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Did you catch that? Contentment is not something acquired naturally. It is a learned character trait. When all that he had was Christ, he learned that Christ was enough. Our needs drive us to Christ. Too often all the blessings can become a distraction and we become more grateful for the blessings than the Blesser.
Let’s be honest. Because we all have an Adam’s suit, our hearts are prone to wander. Staying true to God won’t happen by accident. Nothing good does. That’s why they call it an accident. Be vigilant. Keep your focus on the one thing that changes everything – Jesus Christ. Until He returns, continue in prayer. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Fix your thoughts because your mind, like your body, is fallen and broken. And learn to be content. We can do this. We can stay true to God through Christ who gives us strength! But if you have wandered away, confess that to God right now and return. Let Him restore your soul and get you back on track. He’s the God of another chance!