Chasing Away the Darkness

I have been slowly working my way through Philippians in a weekly Bible study group.  The more and longer I think about it, possibly the most significant portion in Philippians is chapter 2, verses 14-17. I am aware that most teachers would favor the earlier verses in the same chapter where we see the humility of Christ.  It is important to be sure, however, in light of our daily drudge through life on this planet, the tall command is verse 14.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings.  I first noticed that murmuring is in the plural as well as disputing.  Multiple murmuring is getting to the dangerous mark.  Disputing indicates that the undertones of grumbling have now become vocal.  Also notice that it is not a command of choice.  That is, sometimes it is necessary and sometimes it is not necessary.  Whoa!  All and every has the same Greek word.  For emphasis, I’d say, “Do all or every task without murmurings (under your breath,) and disputings (vocal complaint)

The following verses explain the results of living above the reproach of complaint whether it be inward rebellion or outward explosion!  Paul exhorts Believers in Philippi to live harmless and without rebuke.  They can do this only if they live without murmurings and disputings.  When I painstakingly diagramed these verses, which are all one sentence, the words kept retuning to the initial independent thought:  no murmurings, no disputings.  The reason is that they live in a crooked and perverse world.  In that world of dark sin, Paul tells them that if they can live above wickedness, they will be as lights.  To quote him exactly, it is “. . .among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

Lights.  Plural.  Individual lights can be multiplied.  To illustrate this I took a small flashlight to the study.  (Fire laws prohibit me from using a match which would have worked better.) I carry a small pen light in my car for emergency use.  It doesn’t shine far but it will light the immediate darkness.  It can find a keyhole.  Now vision this:  the battery is dead.  For lack of power, the light cannot shine.  For lack of a disciplined life, the light is rendered useless.

If we are going to shine, let’s stop the murmurings and disputings.  When we follow the associated commands of Romans 12 we will be enabled to shine right where we are in our home, in our neighborhood, in our church, in our community.

Shine fellow Believer.  Together our lights multiply and chase away the darkness of sin that seems so prevalent.  To shine, we must be empowered.  Check that battery!

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