The light that shines bright
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. Philippians 2:14-16
When you allow God to work in you, you do everything without complaining or arguing. This is what life in Christ should look like. Christians are to have changed lives. We do the work God has for us without being negative or rebellious. If we are obedient to God and are living according to His will, we would become known as children of God and we avoid these negative attitudes. This life is in contrast to the culture around us. As Paul said from the text, we are “shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” This is fulfilling God’s command that we are to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Christians believe that God is sovereign over all things, including even those circumstances that they find unpleasant and undesirable. When we complain and argue, we are telling those around us that we believe God is doing a very poor job, and, if given the opportunity, we could do much better. If we are not conscious about these attitudes and these persist, they can become who we are; “complainer and grumbler.” We will start to complain about everything; little things, little mistakes are magnified. The weather is not what we would like it to be; people don’t treat us the way they should; the church leaders don’t handle things correctly; and so the list could go on! How can we shine the light within that God gave us? We can go a long way towards conquering grumbling and complaining by keeping constantly in mind the world in which we live, and our responsibility in it. This world is a dark place—it is both ‘crooked’ and ‘perverse’ (v. 15). This world is not as God made it. It has been distorted and twisted by sin, but God’s people are not like the world. We used to be in the darkness but this darkness has been dispelled by the light of the gospel. We have to “hold on firmly to the word of life.” It is only by God’s Word that we find the direction and power so we could do His work in this perverse world. Then our ministry will not be without meaning or empty for we have run life’s race victoriously. “After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).