Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life — in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Say what? “Do everything without complaining or arguing?” Wow! Seems like some folks can’t be happy unless they’re griping or fussing. Unfortunately, some days I may be one of them. How about you? Are you a complainer? Are you argumentative?
There are some (if not many) passages of scripture that we pass over as if they were intended for somebody else. This may be one of those scriptures. I make that observation on the fact that some of the most argumentative whiners that I have ever known…are Christians and church members.
I’m fairly certain that one of the Seven Dwarfs was a member of my last church. Have you met Deacon Grumpy?
“The sermon was too long.”
“The sermon was too short.”
“I didn’t like the music.”
“The organist needs a haircut.”
“The pews are too hard.”
“I can’t believe somebody sat in my seat.”
“The service ran too long for me to beat the crowd to the restaurant.”
Paul’s instruction does not apply solely to our behavior within the walls of a church building. His concern is universal. Wherever we are and in whatever we do we are to avoid griping and growling. But why?
At issue is our Christian witness as representatives of Jesus Christ on this earth. God wants us to be “blameless and pure…without fault in a crooked and depraved generation.” The people of this “crooked and depraved” world are those to whom we are to “hold out the word of life.” Reaching them with the gospel of Christ is our mission and we are to make certain that our behavior does not create an obstacle for our ministry. We are, in a sense, walking commercials for the Kingdom of God.
Our world needs more shining stars for Christ
I love the picture that Paul gives of the Christian who is sold out to God who is willing to live as God expects. He says they “shine like stars in the universe.” Contrasted against the darkness of this evil world these special individuals are shining examples of what the Christian life is intended to be. Others see it and say, “I want to be like that. That’s the kind of person I want to be. How do I get to be like that?”
Shining stars for Christ don’t just shine in church. Their light beams brightly everywhere and on every one. In fact, if your light only shines in church you are a hypocrite. Does your light shine to the people closest to you? They know you better than anyone. Would they say of you that you are a shining light for Christ?
There are many people who claim to be Christians but their lives appear contrary to their claim. Their language, the things they talk about, their behavior, and the way they treat others are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christ. I’m not going to be judgmental toward such individuals. Only God knows the reality of their hearts. But I will go so far to say that theirs is not a shining star — but a tarnished star.
I am certain that you can identify some people that you have known who were, or are — shining stars for Christ. My grandmother comes to mind. In churches I have pastored, or those in which I was a member, there were definitely such people. Their stars point the way to Christ and serve as a shining example of what a Christian can and should be.
So, how do you become a shining star? When you look at such people who clearly embody all that a Christian should be, you see the light of Christ. Their surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ has allowed His light to shine through.
Here’s the key: They are “doers of the word.” (James 1:22) They have not only read God’s instruction, they have acted upon it. Moreover, they have learned to be thankful in all things for God’s provision and involvement in their lives. They know that even in painful times God is completely trustworthy, and He is always with them.
Surrender yourself completely to Christ today. Endeavor to be more like Jesus. As you grow in Him your star will grow brighter in the darkness of this crooked and depraved world, and you will become…a shining star for Christ.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Good Works and Why They Matter
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.