Philippians 2:12-18

Read Philippians 2:12-18
Have you ever considered what makes a follower of Jesus different than the rest of the world? Is it their morals? Their speech? The way they vote? Paul illustrates this contrast by saying believers are ones who ‘shine among them (unbelievers), like stars in the sky.’ There’s no doubt our lives and attitudes as followers of Jesus should present a stark contrast when compared to a unbeliever. Yet what does that stark contrast look like? Paul mentions two things to the Church of Philippi to describe this contrast: Do not complain and do not argue.

Why would Paul talk about these two, when there are many other sins he could have focused on? Why chose complaining and arguing? It’s because Paul knows that Jesus desires more than just good behavior from his followers, he desires a pure heart. People who are consistently complaining primarily have one major problem - they are focused on themselves. When we are focused on ourselves, we fail to recognize and declare his goodness. Instead of acknowledging God’s faithfulness, we often chose to speak about our hardships. When we are focused on ourselves, it makes it challenging to cling to Jesus as our living hope.

Whether we are speaking about something easy to complain about like road construction or a lost night of sleep, or something more serious like a chronic illness or challenges with Covid, we have an opportunity. An opportunity to speak hope into a world that so desperately needs it. And it’s this hope that makes us shine like stars in the sky.

I know for myself grumbling and complaining can weave itself into almost every conversation. Refusing the temptation to complain and be ungrateful is easy. So would you take a moment now to pray for strength today as you encounter opportunities to complain? Would you ask God for strength to look to Jesus rather than looking at yourself? When the chance to complain today arises, may God’s grace be with you as you declare the hope you have in Jesus, rather than wallow in your hardship.

Questions for reflection:
  1.  What situation is currently causing you the most temptation to complain?
  2.  When you are tempted to complain, what thankful thought can you focus on instead?
Jay Quick | Student Ministries Director

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