Philippians 2:14-16 ESV
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 labour in vain.”
I live in the UK, where the winter time is a time of cold and physical darkness. People feel much more cheerful to see any light which comes from the sun on the occasional bright days. But, as a Christian, I also have to experience much spiritual darkness in this country, as many seem to have turned away from God, and even publicly attack the Christian faith.
The words of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians bring me great encouragement. He tells the Christian believers to be children of God and shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life. He says they are living in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation (Philippians 2:14-16). He could be describing the environment I live in today.
He has much to say about heart attitudes which should be loving, kind and humble. In the previous chapter he says, ‘And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment’ (Philippians 1:9). He wants them to be in spiritual unity as they follow Jesus. And here, in Chapter 2, he highlights grumbling and disputing as things they must avoid doing.
And earlier in Chapter 2, Paul gives the greatest of all proclamations into the entire universe about who Jesus is, the Lord of all, ‘Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:9-11).
This is ‘the word of life’ that we are to ‘hold fast to’. This is our confession of faith, our creed. This is about our Lord and Saviour. This is about Jesus, who said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
I recently acquired an old CD album called ‘Celebrating 25 years of Spring Harvest 1979-2003’ and I really love the tract called ‘Hallelujah, hosanna’, sung with a lively rhythm that you can dance to. The words are ‘Hallelujah, hosanna’ (repeated seven times), and then ‘God has exalted Jesus to the highest place. And given Him the name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord’. It’s a good song to have running through your head day and night.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to shine as a light in the world and cling to the ‘word of life’, the ‘word that proceeds from the mouth of God’. I bow my knee to Jesus and confess that He’s my Lord. Amen.