“Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.”
This verse is a direct call for unity in the church. Paul began by reminding them how much he loved and appreciated them. Now he challenged them toward stability in relationships.
“so stand fast in the Lord, beloved”
“Stand fast” is a call for stability in the church. “Don’t be stampeded by conflict. Do not take sides. Don’t add fuel to the fire.” People often enter into conflict and take a side without knowing all the facts. Others repeat gossip as if it were fact: “. . . and he beats her on Mondays and Fridays.”
A mature person listens to both sides without jumping to conclusions. An immature person will take sides: “My friend right or wrong.” They jump into the fray just because their friend is on one side of the camp. They do not seem to have the ability to isolate facts from friends. One of the worst things we can do in conflict is to take sides. The chances of us knowing all the facts in a conflict are very slim. The louder the noise, the less apparent the facts are going to be. The only time to take sides is when we know all the facts, such as in a counseling situation.
All were blind to their part in the problem. The church divided itself into two groups. All talk revolved around the conflict: “Who do you think is right?” “Which side are you on?”
The believer is to “stand fast” so that he is not swept away by every spiritual disease that comes along. Many of God’s people are swept into a conflict by loyalty to a group rather than loyalty to truth. If we do not have a strong spiritual constitution, we will contract every spiritual disease that comes along such as resentment, hostility, bitterness, and division.
Stability is important to resolve conflict; love transcends conflict.
Do you have a need to be one-up on other people? That is an attitude of rivalry: “Kill or be killed.” Are you contributing to a rift in your church? Do you operate on the principle “My friend, right or wrong”? We are God’s own people. We should conduct ourselves as children of the King. Stability comes from how we view ourselves. It does not come from winning an argument. Love for others transcends wrongs they may do to us or our friends. Can you stand your ground from distortion?