Like Stars in the Sky

I’m six weeks into my study of Philippians but the 14th through 16th verses of chapter 2 are stuck in my head.

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…. 

In the verses right before them, Paul told the Philippians to work out their own salvation, and part of the working out is to do everything without grumbling or arguing.

Everything without grumbling or arguing.

Am I the only one who finds this challenging? When I’m frustrated, I’m tempted to complain or grumble, mostly under my breath. Instead, I should find the reason for my frustration and go from there. There are no good reasons for grumbling or complaining but a thousand good reasons for solving a problem. More times than not, clear communication will begin the process of finding a solution. When tempted to complain, I try to remember these guidelines.

Expressing a genuine concern with the appropriate person. Yes.
Complaining to others who can’t do anything about the concern. No.
Asking questions to understand why things are done a certain way. Yes.
Grumbling about the way things are done because you don’t like it. No.

Paul went on to say the reason we do everything without grumbling or arguing is to become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”

Before we think grumbling and arguing are no big deal, think about the plight of the Israelites whose spiritual progress was thwarted by it. Over and over again, the people of God grumbled. About the desert. About the water situation. About the lack of meat. About the manna. Their entrance into the Promised Land was delayed because of grumbling, arguing and eventually not trusting the One who brought them out of Egypt.

Grumbling leads to more grumbling, eventually arguing, then rebellion. Paul warned the church at Philippi and he warns us here and now.

When we do everything without complaining, Paul said we “will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

Jesus told us why we shine our light before others. “So that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Grumbling dims our light.

Let’s shine like stars in the sky and point others to the One who placed them there.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

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2 Comments

  1. Kimberly Balles on October 28, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    I am studying Philippians too with a local church group. Very good study. Yes, grumbling is the first thing I do or am tempted to do. As you stated it does not solve the problem and only creates unhappiness within. It also leads to gossiping depending on what I am complaining about. I like your guidelines to keep in mind.

    • marieg on October 28, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      Thanks for your comments Kimberly. Paul is one of my favorite New Testament writers and his letter to the Philippians is a treasure..a lot of encouragement and practical ways to live out our faith.

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