Last Sunday, we spoke about obedience, and obedience is a hard thing.
To walk in obedience to God’s word in the culture and surrounding we live in is not that easy. At times we have to push ourselves to walk in obedience to God, but if we are not careful there is another tendency in us that is equally sinful than all other sins from which we are trying to run away.
While doing the right things, we also have a natural tendency to lean towards grumbling in our heart and/or arguing with others to prove our point or show others how superior we are.
Probably that’s the reason why Paul, immediately after talking about obedience, in verse 14 says “Do everything without grumbling or arguing”
Imagine pursuing holiness and purity by keeping away from adultery, fornication or pornography when everyone around us seems to be enjoying it without guilt or shame – in college, in offices, in our society. And when they see us taking a stance against such lifestyle, we are mocked and made fun of.
In such scenarios, we can quickly get into a complaining mode with God when we treated badly for our righteous actions, saying why is it that they get to enjoy all the fleshly pleasures and not me.
Or we can get into an arguing mode where we bring in our righteous SELF and start pointing fingers and correcting others, showing them how superior we are from them because we do everything right.
The same kind of attitudes also manifests in other situations. When we see people in the office do all the wrong things and yet are promoted to higher positions, when people adopt unethical ways to do business and make money for themselves.
Often when complaining, we forget that we are living amidst “the wicked & crooked people” of this world as pointed in verse 15. We cannot stop anyone, and we cannot change anyone. The only thing we can change is the way we look at our situation and react to it.
Brothers & sisters, complaining, grumbling & arguing is not the right way to do it & as I pointed out earlier is equally sinful as other sins.
Here are a couple of things to remember from our passage today that can help us in such scenarios.
What God thinks about us is more important than what people think.
V15a – “so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”
What Paul is saying is that when we obey God without complaining and disrupting in such manner, we present ourselves blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish.
Often, we are too worried about what others think about us, how others will treat us. And we forget that ultimately we all are accountable to God for the kind of lives we live on this earth. We are either living as children of God or as children of the devil; however, we chose to live will decide what our eternal destiny will be, whether heaven or hell.
What God is doing in us & through us is more glorious.
V15b – “Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
As we live holy and obedient lives without complaining and arguing, God is using us as shining stars in this dark generation. God’s ultimate goal is to save this wretched world from the hands of satan. He is saving the world through our obedience in Christ.
One day we will all die, and in our last days, all this wealth & pleasures will seem meaningless. And when we are in our death beds, the greatest joy in our hearts will be to cherish all the beautiful gifts God has given to us, whether our salvation, our family, our friends, the joy, and the peace.
Like how Paul puts it in verse16 “as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain.”
Another thing that can help us in our struggle is when we remember the high price Christ had to pay to set us free from Sin and death. While we were sinners, Christ died for us, paid the penalty of our sins on the cross of Calvary. Nothing we go through in life for living an obedience life can be compared to the shame, mocking, beating, insult our Lord Jesus had to go through.
Our repentance and belief in the Gospel have given us this new life, and unlike what the world thinks, this new life is far more glorious than what the world has to offer us.
And finally …
We ought to rejoice and be glad as we walk in obedience to God’s commandments.
v18 – “So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”
Paul ends this conversation in verse 18, saying “Rejoice & be glad”. But why do we rejoice?
We rejoice because we know that God is pleased with us. He is not pleased because of our obedience, he is pleased in the obedience of his son Jesus, who lived a fully obedience life on our behalf. He is pleased with us for excepting Christ as our saviour and Lord; he is pleased with us because of our love for Jesus.
We rejoice, because, greater is He that is in me then he that is in the world.
We rejoice, in the fact that God, the creator of the universe, is using us as instruments in his hands for his glory. What is a privilege it is?
We rejoice, because, in the end, we will be rewarded for our love and obedience.
Therefore, brothers & sisters, let us continue to walk in obedience to God but without complaining and without arguing, which is an acceptable sacrifice unto our God.