Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
Philippians 2:14-16 NLT
We live in a culture of complaining. It’s normal (even expected) for everyone to complain about how tired and overworked they are. It’s common for wives to complain about their husbands and children, single people to complain about dating, widows and empty-nesters to complain about being alone. When it’s cold we complain about the cold; when it’s hot we grumble that it’s too hot. So often the weather is never right, circumstances could always be better, and the grass is seemingly lush and green everywhere but beneath our own two feet.
We also live in a culture of arguing. From politicians at every level to professional athletes in the middle of a game, from school board meetings to social media comment threads — the shouting and name calling is deafening. We live under the assumption that the louder you are and more talking points you have, the better chance you have to win the argument (and isn’t coming out on top no matter the cost the point of it all? or so culture screams).
This isn’t new information.
But it’s worth stating because the contrast to our call as Christians is glaring.
Paul exhorts the Philippians with words we desperately need two-thousand years later: “Do everything without complaining and arguing . . . Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
The way of culture is not the way of Christ.
The constant flood of arguments and complaints have settled over us like dark, relentless clouds. This is why God wants us to live another way! So we can shine like bright lights! So our lives can point others to the light of Christ.
So how do we break free from the patterns of culture? “Hold firmly to the word of life.”
God’s Word is the only thing that can truly light our paths and tame our tongues — for our good and His glory.
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