‘Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, ‘ Philippians 2:14-15
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing…” Phil 2:14
That is trustful obedience. Perhaps some of you remember an old radio show character named Lightning. He would always do what he was told, but he kept up a continuing undercurrent of mumbling comments which became quite hilarious. It reminds me of many Christians who claim to reckon on the indwelling God but at the same time mumble and complain. That reveals a basic unbelief. It shows they don’t really believe the trials of their life are sent of the Lord, and they don’t really believe that he is adequate to meet every situation. They are not really expecting him to work, otherwise they wouldn’t be murmuring, grumbling and disputing with one another.
What happens when a Christian behaves in unbelief? As Paul points out, the world around cannot see Christ, so there is no light in their darkness. In other words, if the life your neighbors see in you is explainable only in terms of your human personality and background, what do you have to say to your neighbors that will awaken them to their need of Christ? If the situations you face cause you to react with the same murmuring and discontent and bitterness they have, what’s the difference between your quality of life and theirs? They will simply say,
my life is explained in terms of my personality. I like certain sports and entertainment, and certain kinds of music and you like religion — that’s all. Unless there is a quality of life that can be explained only in terms of God there is nothing to challenge the world around. The world waits to see God, and they will as Christians stop their mumbling and complaining and disputing.
There must be that quality of life explainable only in terms of God, and then, as Paul says, as we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, the light of the gospel will shine into the darkness of where you live. This is what Jesus means when he says,
Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works. Stop your mumbling and complaining and disputing about everything that comes in your life. It is only the obedience of faith that produces that quality of life which cannot be explained simply in terms of your own human personality.
“Forgive me for my grumbling, Lord. Help me to trust you in every situation and in doing so shine brightly in a dark world.”
Do we have a lifestyle of complaint that simply discredits the authenticity of our Christian witness? What is the counterpart to grumbling and argument that will release the Light of Christ in this world’s darkness?
Daily Devotion © 2014, 2023 by Ray Stedman Ministries.