"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. Philippians 2:13-16, NIV
When we're young, I think most of us daydream of someday being a "star." Maybe a Rock Star, or a Football Star, or a Scientist Star who develops the cure for all cancers...I was a reasonably decent soccer goalie, even played on a team that won the state under-18 title one year and came in second the year before that. But I daydreamed sometimes, of being a STAR, making incredible saves to the roar of crowds. Even IF they'd HAD women's professional soccer back then, I would never have made it, except maybe as a second alternate to the 9th string goalie!
At the root of these dreams is our desire to be noticed, to have others pay attention to us and LIKE what they see. We want to "shine like stars in the universe."
Well, God says we CAN--but we can't do it by our own efforts or clever thinking. And the more I try, the more I end up just looking like the rest of the world, my light safely hidden under its bushel.
When you look up in the sky on a dark, clear night, what do you see? (Granted, these days, it's harder and harder to see anything, since we have used electricity to illuminate pretty much the entire planet 24/7) But, you see the brightest stars, or the one that seems to almost be twinkling.
How can we be those bright, twinkling stars? Well, we can start with what God tells us here:
- Do everything without complaining or arguing. Ouch. Don't know about you, but I'm definitely already in trouble! I must have never noticed the "out" after the "with," because sometimes I think I've made a fine art of complaining. Have you ever thought about how often you complain and grumble and argue and just generally demonstrate a not-very-cheery attitude? . Oh, and "anything" means "anyBODY" too! But God doesn't say here, "save your complaining and arguing for the stuff that really matters to you" or "don't complain or argue unless..." He says don't do it! Make it your goal to get through one entire day without complaining about ANYTHING...nothing, nada, zilch, zero. Well, if there are no more posts to this blog, it'll be because I imploded from trying to keep from complaining!
- Hold out the Word of Life. Now first of all, before you can hold anything out, you gotta HAVE it in the first place! Put God's Word in your life--which to me means two things: first you have to make sure that The Word is in your life...Christ. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....in Him was life and that life was the light of men...and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1, 4, 14 If you have not asked Christ into your life, then His light is not in you, and you don't HAVE the Word of Life, in order to hold it out to anyone else. But for those who have his light, are you taking hold of His Word and keeping it in your heart, so that you can hold it out to others? How much of Scripture have you memorized? Here's an idea--each day, take one or two Scripture verses and write them down. Pray that God would show you meaning in those verses, and then look for how many times and how many different ways you can apply those verses during the course of the day. When you see how God used those verses in your life, write them down. You'll be amazed at how the Word of God can truly, supernaturally, change your life! And as you begin to take IN His Word and apply it to your life, something remarkable happens...you begin to shine! And people take notice.