For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 38
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.” Philippians 2:14-18
First, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. Then, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14. As we learned yesterday, a complaining, grumbling and divisive attitude only throws shade on the light of life that Jesus has placed within us. So, how do we learn to “shine like stars in the world” (Philippians 2:15 HCSB)? Paul tells us that we need to…
Fuel the Fire with Holiness
“So that you may become blameless and pure.” (v.15)
Have you ever wondered how the sun or other stars are able to create and sustain so much power? How is it that the sun is able to shine so bright and hot that a couple of hours in the sun can cause us to get a sunburn? Did you known that the amount of energy that the world’s largest power plants produce in one year is equal to the amount of energy the sun puts out every second. That’s a lot of power! Do you believe that you possess as much spiritual energy as a star possesses? Most scientists agree that stars maintain their power through a complicated process called, Nuclear Fusion. The main thing is that there are several nuclear charged protons that fuse together to create an immense amount of power and this process is being multiplied and repeated over and over to create what we see as a tiny little star. Now, what does this have to do with us? Not a whole lot, but there is one thing that we can learn, and that is that are only a few necessary ingredients for a star to shine and there are a few necessary ingredients that fuel the fire of our lives. The first two Paul mentions in this passage have become increasingly unpopular, and even come under attack by those who oppose the Gospel: We are to be “blameless and pure.”
Many Christians recoil in recalcitrant disgust when even the slightest teaching touches on the call to purity in our lives. Immediately labeled as “judgmental,” “legalistic,” or “toxic” “purity culture” teaching, many today believe that it is morally wrong to expect and demand holiness in our spiritual walk. As Christian’s we don’t get to tell God what parts of Scripture we will obey, based on how its teaching makes us feel.
Paul tells us to strive to become “blameless and pure.” To be blameless, does not mean, “perfect,” it simply means, don’t give people ammunition to shoot down your life or testimony. Live a life that people can’t criticize as being hypocritical or inauthentic. To be pure means, to rid your life of all the things that may cover up the warm glow of God’s light. Imagine you are driving a car down a long, swampy, dirt road. As the dirt, mud and mosquitoes begin to collect on the headlights of the car, their light begins to diminish, and it becomes more difficult to see where you are going. The light is still there, it just is not illuminating the way it should. In order to stay on the road, you may need to pull over and clean off the bulb, make the glass as clean as possible, so the light will shine much more brightly. Our lives are continually collecting the filth of the world and it is important that we regularly pull over in order to address the sin that is dimming our light.
Every Christian will falter and fall into sin, so when we do, we must remember the road to repentance begins with honest confession. Hiding sin, justifying sin, or pretending that our sin is not sin at all is a recipe for spiritual hypocrisy and getting caught in a spin cycle of addiction, defeat and shame.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:5-9
Here is the point, that seems to be missed by many today: The secret to overcoming feelings of shame is not to shun a culture of light and purity, but to welcome the light of the Gospel into the darkest parts of our lives. If you are in a struggle with sin, do not get angry with God for the way that your sin makes you feel. Instead, run to Him as the only one who is faithful and just to forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.