Be Still Know
Philippians 2.14-15 NLT
‘Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.’
Complaining has always been a part of life. Sometimes we need to complain but as a way of life it can be very destructive. It has been wisely said that complaining doesn’t solve problems, it only attracts them. Complaints were clearly a feature of the church in Philippi and Paul is eager that they should stop. His comments remind us of the people of Israel during their 40 years in the wilderness. Even though they had observed God miraculously leading them out of slavery in Egypt it wasn’t long before the complaints began.
Complaining and arguing are destructive in every way. Paul challenged his readers to live in such a way that they couldn’t be criticised, because that could only damage their Christian witness. Paul had no illusions about hard this would be. His description of the world being full of crooked and perverse people was clearly based on his own personal experiences. He knew how tough life in the world was, and he could see that if the Philippian Christians lived out their faith in the way that he had described they would shine like bright lights. They would stand out from the people around them. No doubt they were often tempted to withdraw from the world but Paul insists that their calling was to be in the world.
I remember as a teenager attending Christian conferences and holidays and thinking how wonderful it would be if I could have stayed there. I found it very hard to get back into normal life after those precious times. But I had to learn that God has not called us to cut ourselves off but to live our lives in the midst of people who think and act very differently from us. Tough as it may be, we need to play a full part in the life of our communities praying that, miraculously, we might be able to shine the light of Christ in our dark world.
QUESTION: In what way are you able to shine for Christ in your daily life?
PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for those times when I am prone to complain and argue. Fill me with your Spirit today so that I will be able to shine for you however tough life might be. Amen
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