Do everything without [complain]ing or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure children of God, without defect in the midst of a twisted and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the sky, as you hold on to the Word of Life. – Philippians 2:14-16a
Paul the apostle wrote a letter to the Philippian congregation in which he exhorted them for the assistance they rendered to him while incarcerated and earlier on his missionary journeys through Asia minor. In the letter Paul noted to them that they should do everything without complaint or arguing, so that they could shine like stars among the degenerate population surrounding them. In that way they would be blameless and pure before God.
Is it any wonder that people don’t change from generation to generation, but merely the faces and names of those living at the time? Paul called his generation a “twisted and perverse generation,” which was the at the height of the Roman Empire. The lewdness and debauchery carried over from the Grecian era into the Roman arena was seamless. Open sexuality and public drunkenness were considered the normal culture of the day. Anyone could worship any deity one chose so long as it didn’t threaten the status quo of the Roman government. Does this sound like any modern society? Hint – Europe and America?
The busyness of life has stolen the peace and joy of people in all sectors of society. People used to work to live, but now we live to work. Technology has hastened the pace of life to a harried state where people have nanosecond attention spans and become agitated over the littlest of things. Where people used to take their time and do things with accuracy and precision, we now do things in a multi-tasking environ where we have to be doing something all the time. If we are not, then something must be wrong?!?
In a world where speed dictates the daily activities of our lives, it is easy to get caught up in a state of mind where anger and impatience can rule the day. I know; I used to live in that world. Even in recent days, I had found myself irritated over insanity at work, the indecisiveness and usury of retail customers, things going awry when working on personal things that don’t work out as expected, and so on. What type of example was I setting for those around me? Did they see the love of God working in me and through me? Did they suspect me of being not who I know I am, a child of God? Did I appear any different from the world around me when in a stupor or rage? God forbid; however, the truth is that I most likely didn’t point them to Jesus through my behavior.
It’s no wonder why Paul admonished the Philippians to do everything without complaint or argument, so that others would see them in the midst of a tough situation only to be brought through it by the power of the Holy Spirit thereby showing others God’s ability to overcome even the worst of things. I want to be that shining star in the midst of dark time, not to showcase myself or personal abilities, but to be that light shining in the darkness that draws people to God. Even Jesus told us to let our light shine in order that others may see our good deeds and give glory to the Father. What kind of light is your actions (and mine) shining in this world? Does it illuminate the truth of God’s love? Or, does it show people what they tend to think of most people of faith, hypocrisy?
Father, help me to a beacon in this dark world. Forgive me for not being a better example of you in this twisted and perverse generation, who really cries out for more than the sensuality with which they destroy themselves. They seek genuine love and affection but look for it in all the wrong places, faces, and disgraces. Help me to have more control over my emotions and actions in order that my mouth reflects the truth of the One living in me, You. I love you, and I need your Holy Spirit to teach me yet more of the grace you’ve given me and how to share it with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.