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we shine as lights in a wicked world

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Do all things without grumbling or questions, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. 

 

Jesus tells his followers to shine brightly like a light on a hill and a lamp on a stand so others can see the light of our good works and end up glorifying God (Matthew 5:14-16). Peter describes our new identity in Jesus as called us out of darkness and put into God’s marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9-10). In Philippians, Paul tells us we shine as lights in a wicked world, and one of the ways he urges us to do that is by not grumbling or questioning.

Oh dear. Does this mean we all fail?  After all, who doesn’t grumble or question once in a while? Does this mean those who are in Christ may never grumble? And what about Moses who often complained to God, or Psalmists or prophets who wrote detailed laments? Weren’t they grumbling or questioning? It sure seems that way but as with any passage we need to read it in context.

Paul’s language reflects the Old Testament. Like Israel, the Philippians were taken out of the old world and placed into the new. Like Israel, they were called to live in righteousness as lights to the world in order to display the radiant beauty of the one true God. However, there were times when Israel was reprimanded for having a rebellious heart. These were times Israel did not fear and tremble before God. Instead, they grumbled and questioned him. Unlike the complaints to the Lord from Moses, David, the prophets, and others, the rebels in Israel grumbled in defiance and questioned what God was doing (Ex. 15:24, 16:7-9; 1 Cor. 10:10). Their words and actions were of rebellion, not one of crying out to the Lord for help or wondering what he was doing. Their questioning was essentially a demand for God to do things their way.

Take a few moments today to reflect on your heart. When you grumble and ask God questions, do you end in a prayer of trust or do you end with clenched fists asking God to do things your way? Talk to God about why you answered the way you did.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Don Owsley

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