When I was younger, I would sometimes get in trouble for saying something rude, out of turn, or disrespectful. My parents' wise "punishment" was to have me copy down verses from the Proverbs about the difference between a wise person who holds his tongue and a foolish person who does not.
Now most of those verses are underlined in my Bible, because I still need the reminder!
Lately I've been struggling with complaining and arguing, mostly to/with my husband. I stubbornly insist on my own way, even when it's a little thing that doesn't matter.
Paul wrote to the Philippians, "Do everything without complaining or arguing" (Philippians 2:14).
Well, there it is. Don't complain, don't argue, period.
What I often forget about that verse, and what I think is often left out of it, is the context. Here is the whole passage:
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." -Philippians 2:14-16Wow. That adds a lot more meaning to the verse!
Of course Paul doesn't mean here that we can be completely blameless and without fault...that's not possible for us sinful humans. But we can ask God to give us a complete and faultless devotion to doing his will. This is something he desires for us to have, so it is a prayer he will answer!
The biggest part of this verse to me is the purpose for living a life free of complaining and arguing. We are to shine like stars in the universe, in the darkness of this "crooked and depraved" world, holding out the Word of Life--the Gospel. Our lives, as children of God, should so shine in the darkness that unbelievers can see God's Word being enacted in our lives.
The apostle Matthew wrote,
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16I don't watch what I say to avoid having to copy down Bible verses over and over. I do it, or try to do it, because it is obedient to God and a life that is obedient to God is a life that praises him.
As his child, my biggest goal for my life is to praise and glorify God, and to shine his light in a dark world!
Sometimes that's an overwhelming thought. It sounds like way too much for me to do on my own.
Well, that's because it is. I'm not supposed to do it on my own.
I may be a lamp on a stand, but the Holy Spirit is the fire inside me that shines HIS light everywhere I go. As part of the body of Christ, I'm the light of the world, but that light doesn't come from me. It comes from God's Word--the Word of light, and the Word of life.
John wrote concerning Jesus,
"Through him [Jesus] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men." -John 1:3-4