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.
Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)
Read: Philippians 2:12-18
Consider: What stood out to you as you read today’s passage from Philippians 2? If you read today’s passage in the NIV you may have noticed the section heading: ‘Do everything without grumbling’. However, if reading from the ESV the heading is: ‘Lights in the world’. Of course the section headings are not part of Scripture, but it does reveal a human trait that we can either focus on something positive or negative in what we read and see.
Perhaps the Philippians were becoming known for grumbling; an attitude of complaining and arguing about what they were being taught. More likely is that it is a general exhortation from Paul to avoid grumbling and arguing, because it gives the wrong impression of Christianity to those in the world. There are lessons there for churches today, whether individual congregations or denominations.
Perhaps you were struck by the words: ‘… a warped and crooked generation’ (Philippians 2:15). Do you hold to the belief that the current generation is worse than in the past, that things are getting worse and that society is more godless than previously? Do you believe that we live in a warped and crooked generation? Paul chooses this quote from Deuteronomy 32:5 where the generation then was described in the same terms. Think about it for a moment; scholars say that Deuteronomy was written down around 700BC, but Moses lived around 1300BC. Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians around 62AD and we live in 2021. Can you see that if Moses, Paul and ourselves all feel that we live in a warped and crooked generation, things have not gotten worse. We need to recognise that godlessness is as apparent today as it was previously; however, the focus of it may be different.
It may be that, like me, you were struck by the words: ‘Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky’ (Philippians 2:15). How so? Because how we behave should give a clear indication of what we believe to those around us. And not just believe, but how we live each day. Paul elaborates on this when he says: ‘… as you hold firmly to the word of life’ (2:16). This is what makes us different to the warped and crooked generation in which we live. We hold firmly to the word of life; the good news of the gospel that brought us into fellowship with God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. As Christians we should also hold firmly to the authority of the Bible, even when society at large prefers to ignore it completely, or twist what it says to their ends.
No-one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light (Luke 11:33).
Pray: Father, may your light shine brightly in the world through all who believe in Jesus Christ. Amen
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