Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life… Philippians 2:14-16
Our light shines before the world, when we do things without complaining and arguing. We are blameless and innocent, children of God, when we do things without complaining and disputing. I know that I can be both a complainer and someone who argues. I have to consciously stop myself from, as my mother would say, “arguing just for arguments sake.”
There is no doubt that the world around is crooked and twisted. A quick scan of news headliners screams this truth.
It seems, all people want to do, is complain and argue. People share their complaints more than their compliments. Complaints drive our society. If you want change, complain the loudest. Large scale changes occur, not because society as a whole agrees, but because a small group of loud people cause so much noise that it is mistaken for the masses.
People express their opinions in loud voices at anyone, whether people want to listen or not. People look at opinions as facts and often share them without even completely understanding what the issue is on which they have an opinion to share. Everyone is complaining and disputing; it is happening everywhere. Sadly, even with the church, there is complaining and disputing.
As I read Philippians 4:14-16, I was quick to question, “How do I stand strong and spread the Word, the Gospel, without disputing? How can I not complain about the injustices in this world, and the crooked leaders, and the twisted world? Tell me how, Lord.”
The answer came just as quickly as I penned the words down in my journal. People scream to be heard. Light is seen; it is not heard. Light travels farther and faster than sound. Light breaks up the darkness. Sound is easily drowned out by all the noise. What a powerful picture!
It is often said, “Actions speak louder than Words.” The Word of God bears this truth:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2: 18
Action may cause a sound, but the evidence of action is always seen. Works may be heard, but the result of work is always left to seen, even if the work is not.
It is by our fruit that men know that we are followers of Christ.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” and By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:5, 8
Fruit is seen; it is not heard.
I am not suggesting silence is the answer. We have certainly been silent for too long as the Body of Christ. We must proclaim the Gospel. We must share His Word. We must speak boldly of His Kingdom.
I am proposing we follow Christ’s example, and let our lights shine in agreement with His words, for God’s glory.
For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. John 12:49
And what the Word says,
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:11
I am putting forward that people should be able to see our light shining, without the noise of grumbling and arguing. It is possible to state the truth without getting into a knock-down drag out fight or without a screaming match or debate. I can speak the truth without having to convince someone to accept it. I had a pastor once who said “The truth can offend you or it can transform you.” There are many that Christ spoke to that were not ready to accept the truth (The Pharisees and Sadducees). It did not keep Him from speaking truth. They were offended by Him and the truth. They were offended that others accepted the truth they rejected.
I am urging that the signs and wonders that are suppose to follow those who believe, should follow us even now. This is promised by Jesus:
John 14:12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
And even as He depart, He promised:
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:9
As believers, as followers of Christ, we should follow Him. Our words and actions should be similar to His, because we are called to be imitators of Christ (I Corinthians 11:1). We should be lighting up the world for His glory. His message should not get drowned out in the sea of complaints and arguments that come from His people’s mouths. After all, we are God’s children; we are called to be blameless. Let us shine as lights without grumbling and disputing.