Be a shining light – Part 1
The Lord Jesus Christ desires, as well as commands believers to live as shining lights in the world. It is to realise this divine purpose that He saves and bestows spiritual experiences on believers. We are required to “Do all things without murmurings and disputing” in our secular endeavours, spiritual service, and at home. Mere profession alone is not sufficient proof that a person is a real child of God. Free from murmuring, believers must be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom [they] shine as lights in the world”.
People who murmur are not blameless. But those who are free from all sins, including murmuring are blameless in character and conduct, and possess essential attributes that make them different from the people of the world. Their lives define and demonstrate the gospel as light in a dark world. It is as believers fulfill this divine purpose and shine as lights in the world that they have present joy and hope of eternal bliss in heaven. Paul the apostle who exhorted the Philippian Christians to shine as lights in the world did not live by any other standard. He constantly examined his life and continually endeavoured to maintain a life that was free of murmuring in everything. Our Christian profession and service will be in vain here and in eternity if we do not live as shining lights in the world.
Prior to instructing that believer should not murmur, Paul the apostle had admonished that they should ensure their “conversation be as it becometh (befits) the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). The word “conversation” generically means conduct, character and lifestyle. People who claim to have believed and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master must lead a righteous life like Him. They must live the Christ-like life that glows and beams light into the dark world. The charge to live without murmuring was borne out of the Apostle’s knowledge of the history of the children of Israel who had sublime spiritual experiences but perished in sin. Though “they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ”, “they were overthrown in the wilderness”.
This is proof enough that there is no unconditional eternal security with God. It is also a warning to present-day believers who claim to be saved but live licentious and unclean lifestyle. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
If anyone thinks he is saved, the Israelites were also saved. After their exodus and crossing of the Red Sea, they rejoiced greatly and praised God for their salvation. They sang: “The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation”. Afterward, they received the Ten Commandments to make them live righteously. But shortly after their redemption song, they “murmured” for lack of water and continued to do so until they perished in the wilderness. Expectation of additional blessings of a wife, husband, child, job, etc. or reports, comments and complaints of carnal people should not make us indulge in murmuring.
As an antidote to murmuring, believers must ensure they possess the sanctification experience, live in self-denial and discipline. Believers must possess these experiences to be free from the evil of murmuring, as it is certain that many things are bound to happen in life contrary to our desires and expectations. No believer should grumble against secular or spiritual leaders in view of the imminence of Christ’s return.
We must be careful to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Further reading (King James Version): Philippians 2:14-16; Philippians 2:14,15; 1:27; 1 Corinthians 10:1-12; Exodus 15:1,2,22-24; 16:1-3; Numbers 14:1-4,11,12,27,28,36,37; 16:1-4,10,11,41-43,49; Psalm 106:23-25; Jude 12-16; Philippians 2:15; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24; 2 Peter 3:11-14; Hebrews 7:25,26; Philippians 1:10,11; Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9; Philippians 2:16; Acts 4:12,13,31; Philippians 1:14; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 14:1-3; 19:10,18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20.