“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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.”
What sort of circumstances cause you to question God’s character? Are they the life shattering things like a child diagnosed with a deadly illness, a death in the family, divorce, the loss of a job or a move? Are they the ongoing trials we face like chronic pain or unmet expectations? Maybe it’s the inconvenient things, the daily and mundane trials that wear you down like the unknowns of having a newborn, job stress, or training up children? While we all face different trials on a daily basis, whether large or small in consequence, what we believe about God will shape the way we respond to what He’s sovereignly brought into our path.
Everyone loves daylight savings in the fall right? I’d venture to say most parents, at least of toddlers or infants, give a sort of forced smile when asked if they’ll enjoy the extra hour of sleep. My 1 year old son, Jack, had a very difficult time adjusting to the time change. Several nights went by where I would hear him over the baby monitor not only crying but also very angry. And who wouldn’t be, he was tired and yet unable to fall back to sleep. The thoughts that easily came to mind as I, again, would trudge up the stairs to his room could no better describe a grumbler. Why isn’t God putting him back to sleep? Why can’t my husband do this instead tonight? Doesn’t God know I need my rest to take care of the kids tomorrow, no wait, TODAY! It’s after midnight. *Sigh* I can’t handle another night of this, why can’t Jack get his act together? If my belief about God is that He is pushing my buttons, laughing at my feeble and weak self I will surely be overcome with grumbling and discouragement and a lack of joy.
The truth that I need, especially needed in the wee hours of the morning, is knowing who God really is and what He’s accomplished through His Son!
begins with the humility and self sacrifice of Jesus and His exaltation because of it! I really can serve others because Jesus served me when I was dead in my sins! He chose to leave His comfort, His glory and His presence with God the Father, to come to a humble state, in a broken and lost world. He willingly endured suffering in my place!
I don’t even have to worry if I have enough strength to obey Him because my righteousness was never dependent on me anyways but on Jesus’ righteousness. I stand complete, forgiven, and loved because of His sacrifice. I can submit to God’s Word because Jesus obeyed in every way for me. I can even admit that I don’t have the strength it takes and that I am desperate for His love to shine through me. He was also exhausted and yet saw needy people with compassion. I can be a light to my family in the dark hours of the night because the light of Jesus shines brightest in the spiritual darkness around us. And it speaks volumes of God’s love to a lost and dying world. Grumbling and arguing with God about my lot in life robs me of the joy of resting in His sovereign and loving care, and it also robs the opportunity to shine brightly to those around me for His glory.
This is impossible to do without Him, but by His grace, I can put to death the complainer in me, and instead find a deep delight in my heavenly Father and in His Son Jesus Christ. I can go into my son’s room, even tonight, and rock him to sleep with lullabies of the grace I’ve been given. And then pray for his little soul to be drawn to the love of my heavenly Father.
Instead of blending in with the darkness of complaining, what I need is the light of God’s Word to shine through and a heart full of gratitude for what He is doing – even if I don’t understand it. May the light of this truth give me more rest than a full night’s sleep.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 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, 16 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. (ESV)
2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 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, 16 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. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (ESV)