Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain. Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
If you live in a city you will know that it is difficult to see the brightness of the stars over the light glare. The best view of the stars is always away from any extraneous light source, when the background sky is at its darkest. As a young child, living on the edge of a city, I remember just how many stars could be seen with the naked eye. Yet even that doesn’t prepare you for the spectacle you see when away from any city lights.
Paul uses the analogy of stars to describe the Christians at Philippi. He contrasts their ‘blameless and pure’ lives against the ‘warped and crooked generation’ in which they live. Their brightness should stand out against the darkness around them.
While some people might want to withdraw from the world, these verses tell us that it is ‘among them’ that our light will shine at its brightest. To shine brightly we are told to ‘hold firmly to the word of life’.
We live today in a ‘warped and crooked generation’ that seeks to twist the word of God to suit its own purposes. As Christians we are to withstand false teaching, even it it comes from within the church. In Scotland, as in many countries worldwide, we find ourselves within an increasingly secular society. However, what causes more concern is those who have entered the ministry and are actively teaching that Christ did not die for sin and those who deny the divinity of Christ. It seems that even in the 21st century we have those who hold to old errors.
The message for us is to ‘… shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life’.
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