Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may 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. – Phil. 2:14-15 (NASB)
2016. A new year and a new opportunity to follow the tenets laid down in this verse.
Grumbling is something I’ve become too well acquainted with in recent years. The destruction of our culture and country is a hard thing to watch, and the anger thus engendered has only fueled my inborn and un-Christlike tendency to complain. Complaints come readily to my lips these days; praise and gratitude far too slowly.
We do indeed live amidst a crooked and perverse generation, getting more so every day. Yet, according to Paul – a man who knew a thing or two about crooked and perverse generations – we are called upon to live “above reproach” so as to “appear as lights in the world.”
And as much as it did in Paul’s time, heaven knows this dark world we live in today is in need of some light.
The gray days we’ve had for the past few weeks – in my neck of the woods and across much of America – are a fitting metaphor for the times in which we live, times that are dark now and growing darker by the minute. And I’m ashamed to say that instead of appearing as a “light” in that darkness, I’ve too often cursed the darkness and let it overwhelm me.
If, as we well know, cursing the darkness is useless, the question is, exactly how does one go about appearing as a true light in a perverse world that calls light darkness and darkness light?
I suspect God has a different answer to that question for every one of His followers. And I suspect that most of us have some idea of what that answer is for ourselves.
But if not, let us make it our mission this new year to find out and to begin living out that light in this bleak world so that the darkness no longer overwhelms us, and, as Paul exhorts us, so that we can prove ourselves “to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach.”