I use The Bible app with a devotional option and I'm currently working through one called 100 days of hope put out by Hope International. This morning it pointed out a thought I love. I got carried away and spent the day thinking about this verse. A good devotional will do that for you.
“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."
One of the reasons I read the Bible is because so often it tells the truth about me. Watch this. I took the first sentence, took out the instructions from God (Do everything without) and the inheritance of God (become blameless and pure, children of God) and got myself.
Grumbling or arguing.....in a warped and crooked generation. That's me. I get amped up and argue with people or philosophies I view as warped. I grumble like crazy when I see a crooked deal. Argue and grumble are my go to plans. You?
The next temptation is to accept God's rule but forget God's power and grace. The rule is to not grumble or argue. Easy way to do that is to simply withdraw from the warped and crooked generation and only hang out with people with whom I agree. No arguments. Stay home, only engage with my friends, love people who look and act like me. No grumbling. Rule achieved!
Except that's not the whole verse. Grace doesn't care about the rules if the heart is off. Checking off half a verse as completed and ignoring the real message simply wasn't point. Context people. Read and apply the full message.
Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky...
See it? What the writers at Hope International pointed out was the shine AMONG THEM. The them is the warped and crooked generation. This verse calls us not to fight with them. Not to argue with them. Not to tell them they are wrong. It also doesn't tell us to wrap up our children or our feelings or our lives in a layer of protection and avoid them. It calls us to SHINE like stars in the sky among them.
Stars are beautiful, spectacular, awe-inspiring, light giving, shiny, sparkly, fun. They illuminate the night. They provide a stable immovable point of reference for people lost in a dark night to find their way home.
How do we shine?
as you hold firmly to the word of life.
If you are drowning and someone throws you a life preserver you don't glance at it occasionally or drape an arm loosely through it. You hold on firmly.
Jesus saved me. Without Him I'm a waffling, unfaithful, angry mess. He is the word of life and I'm not letting go.
The people around you need a word of life. They don't need arguing or grumbling. They don't need words of death. We have enough of that. Shine life.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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