Shine like stars in the world. – Philippians 2:15
12 My dear friends, you have always obeyed, not only when I was with you but even more now that I’m absent. In the same way continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
13 It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please him.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing.
15 Then you will be blameless and innocent. You will be God’s children without any faults among people who are crooked and corrupt. You will shine like stars among them in the world
16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.
When we think of the word twinkle, stars frequently come to mind. The light from stars is basically steady and constant, why then do they twinkle? Stars are a great distance from planet Earth. As starlight enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it is interrupted. Air movement, called turbulence, in different layers of the atmosphere, breaks it up before reaching Earth. The starlight becomes slightly bent. Some starlight reaches Earth directly while some is redirected slightly. To our eyes, this makes the stars seem to twinkle. Stars do not twinkle in outer space because there is no atmosphere.
Stars appear as singular points of light. In contrast, objects closer to Earth, like the Moon and planets, have many observable points of light. Therefore, planets are not significantly impacted by atmospheric turbulence. Their luminance does not tend to vary.
The fallen world in which we live is a very dark place. Paul describes the people of our world as crooked, corrupt, distorted, and twisted (Philippians 2:15). Darkness is growing and becoming more pervasive. It is as though we are approaching the winter solstice, the day with the longest night of the year. Fear causes some to dread that the day after the solstice may never come.
Consider for a moment the social and political rancor of our times. Gone are courtesy, civility, respect, camaraderie, kindness, and hope. Outrage and vows of vengeance have taken their place. “This is our politics now: no uplifting rhetoric about ‘hope’ or ‘a shining city on the hill,’ no poetry, no norms, no decency. It is grievance, revenge, identity all the way down” (William Falk).
How can we shine like the stars of the sky in such a dark place? We simply feel inadequate. We wonder how our little, seemingly insignificant light could ever make a difference.
But remember stars do not have to try to be stars, they are stars. They do not exert effort to try to shine. Stars shine because they are stars.
The Lord Jesus Christ made the stars and other heavenly bodies. He brought physical light into our world. He is also the source of spiritual light as well.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
The stars of heaven were created to produce light without strain or effort. Each child of the King can effortlessly shine forth the light of Christ. It is the light of the Lord Jesus Christ that emanates from our lives. We only have to “let it shine.”
The spiritual light Lord Jesus Christ provides makes a difference because it is His light
REFLECT & PRAY
The planet Earth is dark, but the children of the King shine like bright stars. “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example” (Mark Twain).
Father, You put the light of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ within me. Enable me to let it shine.
If we have light within, what hinders it from shining, atmospheric disturbance? Not at all. Rather it is internal turbulence. Our emotional and spiritual disarray dims the light. The brightness of our light is determined by how we react to the difficulties and challenges of everyday life. Grumbling, arguing, hurt feelings make us sullen and silent. When we sulk, the light within us is cloaked.
Paul commanded, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing (Philippians 2:14).
Complaining, arguing, being offended and dissatisfied are the norms for this world. How can we be otherwise? Rather than self-identifying with the norms of fallen planet Earth, we self-identify with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not of this world (John 15:19). Paul explains how to get this right in simple terms.
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Each child of the King receives salvation when they accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Paul is instructing all the Father’s children how to live out their salvation, that is, actualize it in real life. Paul employs a play on words. We are to “work out” because the Father “works in.”
The Greek word translated work out is katergazomai. This word means to work to full completion, to put something totally into effect. This word is used to describe how students “work out” a math problem. “In Paul’s day it was also used for ‘working a mine,’ that is, getting out of the mine all the valuable ore possible; or ‘working a field’ so as to get the greatest harvest possible” (Wiersbe).
The Greek word translated working, is energeo. We get the English word energy from this word. This verb means to work, to be at work, to be operative, to put forth power. In other words, the Father is supplying the energy required to work out our salvation. But there is more.
The Father also provides the motivation. The word translated will is thelein. It normally signifies to want, to desire, or to feel strongly. But in this passage, thelein signifies more than mere wishing; it denotes a resolve or purposeful determination (O’Brien).
Paul not only tells us what the Father wants but how to accomplish it. The Father is intimately involved in the process. He enables us to do what He asks of us. He provides inward resolve and determination to comply and also the energy, the power to make it happen.
Each child of the King can work out their salvation because the Father is at work in every one of them to get it done (Philippians 2:13).
The Father has a plan for each of His children. He is given each child tremendous potential. The Father supplies the desire and the energy to achieve His dreams for us.
Are you living out the Father’s dream for you?