Over the past couple of weeks there is a Bible reference that has popped up in our Sunday morning sermons. The language you might have noticed is that of “shining like stars”, which comes from Philippians:
…shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.
Philippians 2:15-16, NIV
Who is the “them” referred to? The apostle Paul, who wrote this, is is talking about the “warped and crooked generation” of people living in defiance of God and apart from the love of Christ. There’s no question this is strong language, but pay attention to what is being said to us who follow Christ.
Sometimes reading a verse in more than one translation can help us hear the ideas more clearly. Here it is again, with more context:
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life…
Philippians 2:13-16, NLT
These are challenging words! What strikes me about these verses is how Paul connects our witness among people to our way of life. This is a lot more involved than just getting a good evangelistic script or planning an amazing event. Paul is saying that when we live well it helps other people see God’s goodness. The light of Christ shines most clearly when we live cleanly.
This will, of course, require diligent effort day after day; Paul challenges us to “work hard to show the results of your salvation”, but the burden doesn’t rest on us alone. Paul reminds us that we can live in a way that shines brightly “because God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him”. God makes it all possible, if we really trust and seek Him.
If you want the life and love of Christ to shine through you to the people around you today, here’s my question for you: What is keeping your light from shining more clearly? Is there anything you need to yield to God’s transforming work for the sake of others coming to know Him?