This is a sad season, a time of turning off the Christmas celebration lights and the beginning of the cold dreary days of winter. However, as Christians we are commanded to keep our lights shinning.
Obviously, this is not the decorative lights on our houses, rather, we are called to shine as a light in the place where God has placed us. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you will shine, it won’t even be an option for you.
In Philippians 2:14 Paul writes, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” This one verse is a single lifetime goal for every believer. Everything we do, we must do without grumbling or disputing.
Grumbling, also translated as murmuring is the muttering under your breath or gossiping. Murmuring is like an undercurrent at the beach, it is deadly to the church.
Disputing, is open arguments within the body. Normally where there is grumbling, and murmuring, arguments and disputes will follow. Sadly, many churches have reputations for having business meetings characterized by arguments and disputes. This is unacceptable because the church is the representation of Christ in the World, when we argue, we are showing the world that our personal opinions are more valuable than the name of our savior.
Both murmuring and disputing damage our witness, and they have no place in the church. We can have differences of opinion absolutely, but we handle it in a way that operates out of the love of Christ.
Verse 15, Paul writes to the church to stop grumbling and disputing so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish…”. Paul sets the bar high, we are not there yet, but we must keep moving forward allowing God to reveal areas of our lives that need to be brought in line with His holiness.
When we become followers of Jesus we begin the process of becoming more like Christ. (see 1 John 3:2), this is the process of sanctification.
To be blameless is to live a life above reproach, a life of Character and integrity. Too many people call themselves Christians, but how they live during the week is very different from how they appear on Sundays. If your private life and your public life don’t match up, you are probably not saved.
To live innocently is not to live blissfully unaware of evil, but rather to live without mixed motives. To live openly and relate to people without an agenda or ulterior motive.
When we hear the word unblemished, it reminds one of the Old testament requirements of an unblemished lamb that was to be brought before God as a sacrifice for sins. To be unblemished is to walk in holiness and purity, to have no spot or stain, to live above reproach.
The standard is high and unattainable in our own strength. The goal of being blameless, innocent and without blemish is only possible as we lay down our own desires and passions and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. We are to live blameless, innocent and unblemished because we are representing Christ.
According to Philippians 2:15, the Christians in Philippi were living in a crooked and twisted generation, much like we find in the world today. People who live for their own self worship, twisting the truth and denying the existence of God. The world has always had people who deny God, who are cruel and crooked, we should never be surprised by the behavior of people who deny the existence of God, they have no moral compass. But God is looking for those who would choose Him, who would submit to His lordship over their lives. Noah was such a man (see Genesis 6:9). God is looking for the man or woman today who would shine as a light in the world (Philippians 2:15).
As Christians we do not create the light, we reflect the light of Christ (see 1 Peter 2:9).
Every Christian filled with the Holy Spirit, carries the light of Christ which is visible to the world, the only difference is how much of that light are you allowing to emanate from you. When we sin, we dim the light of Jesus that we reflect. Sin is like a cloud obscuring the moon’s reflection of the sun.
The tragedy of the 21st century professing Christian is that sin is so accepted that we barely reflect the glory of our Lord to a dark world. The reason why the world mocks Christians is because they don’t see Jesus. They see people living in sin but playing religious games. Let us be a people that hate sin, striving for personal holiness and purity, reflecting the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ our Lord (see 1 John 1:5-6).
When we entertain sin, when we live outside of the will of God for our lives, we are missing the purpose for which we were saved. We were created and saved by God to bring Glory to His name and when we step outside of His will, we are wasting our lives and making a mockery of the cross.
Philippians 2:16, “holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”
The Word of Life is the Gospel message, 1 John 1 says that Jesus is the Word of Life.
The Greek word for “holding fast”, could either mean to cling to or to hold forth or present.
To hold fast, is a picture of how we desperately cling to the Word of Life for our salvation and daily life. Holding forth is a picture of presenting the light of the Gospel for the world to see.
I believe both meanings are intended, we as Christians must grab hold of the Gospel and cling to it for our very lives as we are faced with temptation and then as those who reflect the light of Jesus, we hold out the Gospel as a witness to the dark world.
This life is so very short, let us be a people who are so totally committed to reflecting the light of the Gospel, the light of Jesus that we become less and less visible (Philippians 2:17).
Are you reflecting the Word of Life? Are you Holding out the Word of Life as a light in this dark world? When people see you, do they see Jesus?