Bible Reading: Philippians 2:1-18
“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, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16)
How many of us want to be lights in this world? How many of us want to be God’s beacons of truth in this life? I’m sure the answer is most of us want to be used by God to be His light in this world. However, there is a distinction between those who just want and those who become. What does it take to be God’s light in the world where the generation around us wallows in wickedness and darkness?
Looking at the verses around this verse, v. 12-13 says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”.
If we ourselves are not of the light, we will never become lights that shine and lead others to Christ. Do not think about being an effective servant of Christ if Christ is not even the master of our own personal life. If we think that we will obey Christ to do self-sacrificing mission work one day, but we do not obey Him to put to death the small sins we keep in our hearts, we fool ourselves. If we call Christ our master, that starts with the simple things in our everyday lives.
Simple things start by putting off our sinful desires and attitudes, our lusts, envy, malice, pride and slander, and asking God to help us replace them with the fruit of the Spirit. This must be done by coming to God in His Word and prayer. Putting off sin is not enough. We must put on the new self. In practicality, this means changing our sinful habits to godly habits. Instead of spending countless hours entertaining ourselves with games, Instagram, Youtube, and Netflix, where the world celebrates evil desires and attitudes, take serious time alone with God to learn from His Word. I am not saying entertainment is completely a sin. However, what are our priorities? We must work out our salvation by God’s strength, who works in us.
Now, if we look around the verse again, v. 12 starts with “therefore”. This is indicating a connection to the previous passage. v.1-11 talks about imitating Christ’s humility. Christ did not count His position in heaven as worthy. Instead, he came to earth to the point of death on a cross for our sins. Christ completely emptied Himself out of love so that He could save sinners. The Greek term for this is kenosis.
Why can we, and why must we work out our salvation? Because Christ has first loved us. He completely emptied Himself of His glory so that we can be freed from sin. How much more must we desire to empty out our sinful self to be free from sin unto a holy life?
Becoming a light starts from the inside out. We must be changed by the gospel. This is not something we can make up. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Ask God to personally work in Your life. Ask God to experience Him personally in your life.
Lord, please work in my life. Forgive my sins, and let me experience the power of Your gospel which changes lives from sin to holiness. Teach me to obey You and follow You in this process. Make me a light and make me a witness for Your truth in this world. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.