June 14th, 2023 – Early Wednesday Evening
“…so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” ~Philippians 2:15
Last time we dug into the previous verse to our passage today: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” In that devotional we were reminded of our need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and on the perfect character and nature of the Living God, instead of looking at ourselves or others, our problems, our circumstances, etc. That is the only way we can live an obedient, fruitful life that is devoid of complaining and hesitation.
In our passage today we begin to see some of the reasons why such a command has been given and why we must be diligent to adhere to its instruction. Think about it for a minute: We live in a crooked (curved, wicked, perverse, etc.) and perverse (turned aside from the right path, corrupt, etc.) generation – just as the Philippian believers; and, just as the Philippian believers, we have the opportunity to appear as lights in the midst of darkness – absolutely and diametrically different than all the world around us. Yet, we will not be lights who shine if we fall into the same perversion and wickedness of the culture in which we live. Where the world in which we live is filled with grumbling, ingratitude, unthankfulness, and an argumentative attitude towards the Lord and His ways, we are called to live in perfect submission to and in harmony with Him.
So how do we appear as lights? Well, it seems clear from the text that “shining” is not a conscious effort; rather, it is the natural byproduct of being a child of God who is above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Our part of it is not seen in somehow “shining a light in the darkness” or making sure everyone knows we are a child of God, but by living a life of obedience without grumbling or deliberating. Only then do we become or prove ourselves to be the faultless and pure children of God who are without blemish.
Have you ever told someone how humble you are or had someone tell you how much humility they embodied? Pretty silly, wasn’t it? Yet, we often proclaim our faith in Christ to others, while denying the power of God in our thoughts, words, and actions through a complaining and distracted life. Perhaps it is time for a shift in our perspective and approach: Instead of focusing on the crooked generation in which we live and how we can try to change it, maybe we should focus on obedience. Rather than declaring the answer to a world that often cares nothing about the question [because of the empty and crooked lives of those who supposedly know the answer], we ought to embrace God as our Father – doing all things without complaining or arguing – thereby shining as His lights in the darkness.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…”