Thursday, October 9, 2014

Shine Like Stars

Do everything without grumbling and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. --Philippians 2:14-15

I like the Amplified Bible's translation of this - "Do everything without grumbling, fault-finding, complaining, questioning, and doubting."  We have become a society that thrives on what is wrong.  So called experts on every topic fill the airwaves and our electronic devices with criticisms and objections to everything.  If there were a global meter to register the degree of negativity reverberating through a country, I wonder just how high it would be in the United States?  How high in our churches?  How high in our families?  By teaching and adhering to our propensity for fault-finding are we not generating the opposite of grace?  Do you feel uplifted and blessed when others get together and "whine and moan" about everything that is wrong, frightening, messed-up, and frustrating

The Apostle Paul addresses this disunity and fracture in the Book of Philippians.  He gives a concrete set of to-do's and, therein, lifts up just how different Christian community ought to be.  Don't grumble.  Don't argue.  Don't gossip.  Don't fret or be anxious.  (Don't be afraid.)  DO focus on what is worthy of reverence.  Focus on what is honorable, just, lovely and lovable, true, pure... (see Phil. 4:8.)

This does not mean that there is never any room for prayerful, compassionate, and honest evaluation, but like an unhealthy diet that is nothing but sugar and junk food, our evaluations should not be full of negativity, bitterness, and complaining.  That is unhealthy and kills the Spirit.  No matter what we are evaluating in ministry there is a positive side, good reasons, sound intention, and dedicated effort.  Any Christian evaluation (be it of ourselves or others) ought to be filled with more affirmation than negative recrimination or destructive tearing down.  In any group of people going bad, resolve to be the spiritual star that shines like the one that illuminated the Bethlehem site of our Savior.  Develop the reputation as being able to see the bright spots, the best spots, the holy in all endeavors -- your own as well as all those with whom you share this life.


Gracious Redeemer, make us whole and allow us to see not just the dark and negative, but even more brightly the light and holy reverent.  Amen.