I was reading Philippians again. We are studying this letter in our Sunday morning Bible class. If you haven't joined us, I would encourage you to do so. We are doing an overview of the Epistles, learning their historical setting and the importance of their writing. It has been an enlightening and fascinating journey. Come and journey with us.
As I was reading through Philippians again, I came across the following section: "Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 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, 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) There are many things that can be said about these verses but the one thing i would like to focus on this morning is the fact that we are called to "shine as lights in the world."
"This little gospel light of mine, I'm going to let it shine..." Remember singing that in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School? It is a happy little song. Our children enjoy singing it with their "gospel lights" held up for all to see. The children let their lights shine in the the world. We look at them and smile. Often we think, "That will change as they grow up and the shine is worn off their lives."
The shine does get worn off. It is worn off by this "crooked and twisted generation" in which they live. Our world is crooked and twisted. Sin has taken hold and twists and turns and bends and breaks the wonder of this world that our Lord has created. The beauty is destroyed by the ugliness of sin. (Think about the wonder of the sexual relationship which the Lord has given to a man and a woman in marriage and how this crooked and twisted generation has made that into something vulgar and twisted.) Our children grow up with the shine of faith and then the world twists it and bends it and tries to break it.
You, as a parents, a teacher, a mentor, a Christian who has gone through the time, are called to continue to shine like a light in this world. Those little ones are looking to you, someone who has been living in this crooked and twisted world, for guidance in how to live the life of faith. Your faith is to shine for those little ones (and not so little ones) to see. Your light of faith is to shine so that in this dark world of sin there is a light that can be looked at - the light of Christ, shining for all to see, so that they may praise your Father who is in heaven.
Ask yourself this question: "Is the light of faith shining brightly in all I say and do? Am I reflecting Christ today as I go about my day? If that child, with their little gospel light in hand, was to watch me, listen to me or reflect me today, would their gospel light still shine brightly or would they be hiding under the bush? (Oh no!) As Paul was writing to the Philippians, he was encouraging them to remain shining brightly in this dark world. I would encourage you to do the same. Hold up your gospel light. Let it shine.
And then go to work, shining in the light of Christ. Go to school, shining in the light of Christ. Go to the store, to the mall, to the gym, wherever you need to go, and let the light of Christ shine brightly in this crooked and twisted generation. Instead of moaning about how wicked things are, let the light of Christ shine in your life for others to see.
"All around the neighborhood, I'm going to let it shine..." May the Holy Spirit guide you so that the light will shine all around your neighborhood.