“14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”
-Philippians 2:14-16 (ESV)
I almost titled this devotional “Ouch”, because that was the first word that came to mind when I read this passage. You see, I’m pretty good at grumbling and disputing. I have always been rather quick to grumble and to share my opinion, but it seems that these traits of mine have intensified over this past year. It would be easy for me to brush off this realization with the excuse that “it’s 2020” (implying that just because it’s been a tough year, we aren’t accountable for our behavior) as I’ve seen many people suggest on social media. But, obviously that would be the wrong thing to do. Paul tells us in this passage that we are called to be lights in the world, and one way that we can be lights to the world is by choosing not to grumble and argue.
A quick scroll through your social media platform of choice will show that an attitude of grumbling and arguing runs rampant in our culture. There are many opinions, and very few “filters”. We feel entitled to share our opinions in any way we choose, giving little, if any, thought to how our words might affect another person, let alone how it will affect our witness to the world. I am often saddened by seeing this behavior from Christians. I can quickly become frustrated with their behavior, but I have been convicted that just because I may not say those things on social media, or even outloud to another person, I engage in the same behavior in my mind. And guess what? That’s no better than putting it in an Instagram post.
The good news is that we have tools at our disposal to curb this behavior and these poor attitudes in ourselves: the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit. Paul told the Philippians to “hold fast to the word of life” (paraphrase) in order to “shine as lights in the world”. The Word of God gives us instructions for right living, and the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds to convict us and give us understanding of the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Have you, like me, found yourself grumbling and arguing more lately? Cling to the Word and spend time in intentional prayer. Praise God for these good gifts!