Author: Ron Graham
The Four Titudes
—A study in Philippians
The fourth chapter of Philippians begins with a rather strange request. Paul urges his beloved brethren, "So stand fast in the Lord".
You can walk fast, you can run fast, but how can you stand fast? Well of course the word "fast" has two meanings. It can mean "quickly" or it can mean "firmly". To stand fast means to stick with the Lord and his way, not be shoved aside or knocked down or chased away.
In this chapter (Philippians 4), Paul urges us to do certain things that will ensure we stand fast in the Lord. I have called them latitude, gratitude, beatitude, and aptitude. We might call these "the four titudes" as a pun on the word "fortitude" which is a good word for standing fast.
- The word translated "gentleness" means a gracious forbearance, a willingness to trust and let other people be themselves.
- Being of "the same mind" with another person doesn't mean that you have to be a carbon copy of that person, or that person of you.
- We have to give each other room to be different so that we can keep what we have in common.
- Of course this does not mean tolerating sin or error.
- We ask for what we need with thankfulness and appreciation of what we've got.
- Paul opens his letter to the Philippians with the words, "I thank my God..." (Philippians 1:3)
- Paul ends his letter to the Philippians with a thank-you note (Philippians 4:10-19).
- The "gratitude attitude" is a positive power for daily living.
- There are beautiful, blessed, and noble things in this world —lots of them if we care to look.
- We have to lift our minds to a higher plane and "meditate on these things" that are high and noble.
- Some meditation requires you to empty your mind. Christian meditation is different. You fill your mind with all that is "virtuous and praiseworthy".
- For example take these seven: faith, hope, love, joy, peace, truth, glory. Take one each day, think about it as you get opportunity. See, at the end of the week, whether you are much the better for it.
- You have abilities to develop, and you do that by listening and observing others whom you regard as mentors.
- We all know that those who can't be bothered listening and observing, never accomplish much.
- Many Christians doubt their own abilities and potential. We should say with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
- People with fortitude are driven on by their “can do” attitude.