Isaiah 26-27 Philippians 2
“Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God’s children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world.” (Philippians 2:14-15 NCV)
Paul made a radical suggestion to the Philippians that would be even more radical today. “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Given who Paul was to the Philippians, I would guess that they took him seriously and tried to live by that suggestion. Or should I say command? The ancient Greeks and Romans loved to debate, and I can imagine that, being human, they’d often get into arguments. And, being human, I imagine they’d complain a lot. Paul’s command was to live in that dark world of mean and crooked people without complaining or arguing. In short, that would make us rays of light in a world of darkness.
Express that same thought today and you’d be met by derisive laughter. So may people spend a lot of their lives on social media and if people stopped complaining or arguing there, the whole system would collapse. While we live in that kind of world, we don’t have to participate in the negativity. It’s easy to get drawn into the darkness even when our goal is to proclaim the light. The old joke is the story of the guy who couldn’t get to bed because somebody was still wrong on the internet and they had to fix that guy. Arguing won’t solve their problem. Sometimes we dive into the darkness with our proclamation of the light of Christ. Someone argues with our words about the goodness of God and we have to stick up for Him. I’ve had to learn that God can stick up for Himself and that sometimes those people lashing out have been hurt by people in the church, or someone claiming to be. What they don’t need is me trying to prove how right I am. What they need is to experience God’s love through me. Our arguments aren’t the best proclamation of the gospel: our words and acts of love will reach more people than our debating skill. Show people the love of God through your words and actions and you’ll be a point of light in the middle of their dark world.
Lord, teach me to show Your love and grace when I’d rather prove how right I am. Let my words always be seasoned by Your presence and may my actions reinforce the love I proclaim.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.