‘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’ Philippians 2:14-16.
When someone tells us not to complain, and ‘live a cheerful life’, we can take it with a sense of criticism. “Do they not understand real life?”, ”That’s just not possible!”, “Isn’t it fake to just pretend that everything is ok?”, “Life might be good enough for you to suggest living a cheerful life, but not for me!”
Complaining isn’t about being honest about how you feel, it is a heart posture of contempt, and hopelessness.
If anyone was qualified enough to encourage us to ‘do everything without grumbling or arguing’, it was Paul himself. I have visited the very prison in Rome where Paul wrote this letter to the church from. I can assure you that he had plenty to complain about. The cell is small, dark and damp. For Paul to sit on that prison floor and instead of complain, encourage the church to ‘shine like stars’, speaks of his courageous hope in God, for the church, despite his circumstance.
What in our lives do we have attitudes against?
The state of the world
When complaint and hopelessness fills our hearts, there is no room to love or bring hope. We offer nothing different from the world. We blend in. We aren’t shining. But when we demonstrate a non-complaining spirit, we show ourselves to be people of hope in a generation desperate for it. We stand out.
Note that Paul doesn’t encourage Christians to be lights, he says that we ARE lights, the only question is: how brightly do we shine?
Lights are used to make things evident.
Lights are used to guide.
Lights are used as a warning.
Lights are used to bring cheer.
Lights are used to make things safe.
Just before Paul encourages us to live a cheerful life, he says, ‘God will continually revitalise you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him’ (Philippians 2:13). It is the presence of God that refreshes us, and allows us to shine! We don’t have to fake up a shine. Meet with God, get in His presence, let Him build in you hope that with transform your heart and allow you to shine like you were made to.
A daily devotion for a better way of living.