Shinning like Stars (06-06-22)
Bible Reading: Philippians 2:12-16
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed,
not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence,
continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.
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.
Standing at night under a clear sky, with no light pollution is truly awesome. Each star on its own, from our viewpoint, is only a pinprick of light, but what must they look like, up close and personal, to God who put them there? Together, though, they can provide light at night to see by, and navigation to centuries of sailors.
I would love to know more about the universe, the stars, the galaxies, back holes… The more that is discovered about the universe, the more we learn about the God who stands outside the billions of light years of time, and about his amazing creation.
In these verses from his letter to the Philippians, Paul talks about Christians shining like stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life. The light we have, though, is not our own, it comes from the light that God placed within us when he gave us new life in Christ.
This light becomes brighter as we allow God to work in our lives to make us more like Jesus, as we allow him to remove the tarnish of sin that prevents the light from shining clearly. This is the meaning of Paul’s words, ‘Work out your own salvation.’ He hasn’t suddenly departed from his central teaching that salvation is found, not by good deeds, but only through faith in Jesus. What he is saying is that, having found salvation by faith in Jesus, we need to work out the implication of this on our daily lives.
And what are the things that tarnish our lives? They are not just the big things we easily recognise as sin, they are the smaller things, Paul says, like grumbling and arguing.
Two people become married on their wedding day, but it takes the rest of their lives to grow together as a couple and to work out their meaning of their marriage vows in the way they live their daily lives. So, Paul says, it is for us as Christians once we choose to follow Jesus.
Individually it might feel that the light that shines from us as Christians is just a pinprick in the darkness of our world, but together, locally, nationally and globally, we can provide enough light for people to find their way in life and to guide the spiritually lost to Jesus.
Father God, forgive me for times when I obscure the light within me through grumbling and arguing, and help your light within me to shine brightly in the darkness around me. Amen