Philippians 2:14-16a 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.
The other morning The Today Show was on and I saw a story headline: “Kirk Cameron Controversy.” I know Kirk to be an outspoken evangelical Christian so I was interested in what this controversy was. His shocking statements were that a wife should follow her husband and that the Bible teaches submission. Why in the world does our liberal media call this a controversy? Because this angers feminists and because our culture does not know what the Bible teaches nor care to follow it. We must remember that we are becoming the minority. Fewer and fewer people hold the Bible to be the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and useful for everything in our lives.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness 2 Timothy 3:16
What else (besides our view on marriage) separates us distinctly from the world?
How we speak, how we love, how we forgive. These are the things that will make us stand out in the darkness.
Philippians 2:14-16 paints a picture of believers who do everything without complaining or arguing. The apostle Paul says that it will make us “shine like stars” if we do this in the culture we live in. Imagine! No more need for customer complaint departments? No more need for small claims court? We’re told that we should speak only words that build up and benefit others, that our words should be a source of blessing:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Proverbs 10:11a The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.
I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly convicted by this. My words are not always helpful, beneficial or a blessing. I often fall into the trap of trying to be funny or talking about myself too much. I complain when things are not going my way and want to garner sympathy from those who hear my tale of woe.
When we admit we have been wrong; when we humble ourselves, apologize and ask for forgiveness, we will shine like neon lights on the darkest night. Even though I grew up in a home that was considered Christian, I never once saw this modeled. I think this is common, many people have not seen this done (or done well). When my husband and I were first married, my version of an apology would be something like, “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you are so frustrating!” This is not an apology at all but an excuse and further blame directed at him. This only stirs up further strife. A real apology contains remorse and regret for my actions – taking complete responsibility for them, and a determination to do better in future.
This is a truly radical concept in our world. Once in a while you will hear a story of a Christian family who forgave the drunk driver that caused their child’s death and how they reached out to him in prison. These kinds of stories make the national news because they are so rare. But more often, when I’m in the grocery store or doctor’s office I will overhear people telling of those who wronged them and how they will never forgive or forget. That is much more the natural tendency we have, to lash out in anger and seek revenge.
Ephesians 1:19-20 says the same power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that’s working in us, those who are the children of the living God.
We are different. We have the power of God working in and through us. We have resources that the world knows nothing about! So let’s show that, model that, demonstrate that to a dark and lost world.
Please, Lord, may Your love and power be shown through the words I speak…