Philippians 2:12-16

Be the People God Wants You to Be

12 My dear friends, you always obeyed what you were taught. Just as you obeyed when I was with you, it is even more important for you to obey now that I am not there. So you must continue to live in a way that gives meaning to your salvation. Do this with fear and respect for God.13 Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it.

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing 15 so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. But you are living with evil people all around you, who have lost their sense of what is right. Among those people you shine like lights in a dark world, 16 and you offer them the teaching that gives life. So I can be proud of you when Christ comes again. You will show that my work was not wasted—that I ran in the race and won.

David Mathews mentioned something during his Grief Recovery workshop that made me think… We sometimes attribute things to God that He did not do and then accuse God of doing it and get mad at Him. Though God is the source of all good and is not capable of doing bad things… I am a strong believer that He uses whatever circumstances we have in our life to promote His course.

Why am I saying all that?

There is a child in my class that has so many allergies that he can eat only very few things, he cannot eat with other kids at school because they touch their foods and may touch him, which will cause him to be very sick. It’s that bad!

Last week I told him that not being able to eat a lot of foods makes him special. He looked at me in surprise, “How come?” I explained, “Look at all of us… we are pretty average, like everybody else, we eat all kinds of food, nothing special about us.” He, on the other hand, is not like an average person. He is special.

Strangely enough when I read Philippians 2:12-16 I think about this boy. He is thinking about being baptized but is not sure he can live up to God’s standards. In this he is right… Nobody can. All we can do is to continue to live in a way that gives meaning to our salvation, with fear and respect for God; keep God working in us to help us want to do what pleases him, give us power to do it. What is required from a Christian is to be different from the world (“but you are living with evil people all around you, who have lost their sense of what is right”). We are special (“among those people you shine like lights in a dark world.”) We are different/special so we can offer a teaching that gives life. The boy I was talking about can educate other kids about how there are people that are not “main stream”, that the world is diverse and everybody deserves full life. We—Christians—being different, offer Jesus’ teaching that the life with Christ is much more fulfilling, stable and permanent than what the world can offer.

The parallel here is we both suffer for being what we are. Kids bully, make fun. If we as Christians do what we are supposed to do we are made fun of and bullied. But that’s the destiny of the light in the dark room. Visibility. Light is different/special. You cannot miss it.

In case of this little boy… God started working in his life early, using circumstances in his life to build strength of character, to prepare him to stand different in the world as a Christian.

What does it all have to do with this month’s theme of God’s Love and Love One Another? Here it is WE ALL NEED ENCOURAGEMENT AS WE LIVE IN THIS WORLD OF DARKNESS WHILE STRIVING TO BE THE PEOPLE GOD WANTS US TO BE. Being the showcase, the lighthouse, different, special, is tiresome, discouraging, difficult. Show your brothers and sisters in Christ that their labor for Christ is not wasted, show them love and support, hug, smile, text them a Scripture, do something nice.

 

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