Like Stars in the Sky

Philippians 2:14-15 “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”

Although the stars are shining all the time, we never see them except at night.  It’s in the darkness that they become evident. They stand out in great contrast to the blackness, even though they may be a million miles away.  Isn’t it interesting that this is the analogy that Paul uses to describe believers in the passage from Philippians 2, above? 

Paul talks about grumbling and arguing, two things that are very common when things aren’t going so well.  When things are good, it’s so much more likely that people will be in a good frame of mind.  When everyone agrees with us, what harmony there seems to be and how good we can feel about our fellow human beings.  But it’s in the dark times, situations that reveal our differences, that the true nature of our heart is revealed. Those times when things aren’t going well – times of stress and danger; difficult times; times of opposition; times when fear, anxiety, grumbling, and arguing are the common response – it’s in these times that the reality of what’s in the heart becomes clear for all to see. 

The Bible tells us over and over that we live in a very dark world. It’s called the “kingdom,” “power,” or “domain” of darkness in Colossians 1, depending on which Bible translation you read.  It’s a very dark place spiritually where the one whom Martin Luther called “the Prince of Darkness, grim” reigns.  It is against this background that the contrast of the inner light of the believer stands out.  It’s something you can see from “a million miles away.”  The believers can see this in other believers and it’s something that Jesus has told us to let shine for all the world to see.   It’s the light of the countenance that shines like Moses’ face after he spent time with the Father on Sinai, and it’s the inner light of the heart that shines from the good deeds that reflect a heart of gratitude toward the Savior.  It’s that contrast that loves when others hate, that speaks truth to a world bound in lies, that is joyful when others are grumbling, and that seeks and demonstrates peace when others are arguing and fighting.  And if the light is real, it is obvious, no matter how great the darkness around it, and it is most obvious in the darkest of times.

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