Time to smile
Philippians 2:14-18 : 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. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. (New Living Translation)
What an amazing passage! The challenge is for me is to live a clean and innocent life as a child of God. Which when checking out the greek is talking about me being honest, not being involved in practices that are wrong, not allowing sin to dominate my life and not complaining and arguing – wow. No complaining and arguing? It is clear that when I see an injustice I speak out, and perhaps argue my point (I think of Jesus clearing the temple of the traders in Luke 19:45- 48) but what this passage is referring too is pointless complaining and arguing that is just plain negative rather than constructive. And there is a reason that God wants me to be as clean and as innocent as possible – so that I can be an example to the community around me, to my family, my friends and complete strangers I encounter on the street.
I am called to shine like a bright light in a world full of crooked and perverse people. And when you think of a light shining in a dark room, it illuminates all that is around it, it affects the dark room. In the same way my attitude, the way I conduct myself does affect those around me, both positively for the kingdom and negatively as well.
A simple example is that I make it my habit to smile and chat with the staff as I pay for shopping, it is a boring role most of the time plus a vast number of customers basically ignore them. And then I come along with a big smile and my ‘how are things?’ question and 90% of the staff respond very warmly and smile back, becoming animated while processing my order; and well 10% just think I am plain weird and avoid eye contact! Now when I smile and engage the staff am I preaching the gospel? The medieval Christian legend, Francis of Assisi shares, ‘Preach the Gospel, speak if you have to.’ How I live my life is evidence of what I believe. And how I act speaks volumes on how Jesus has impacted my life.
This is not a calling to be plastic, I believe in being real, but there are times when I need to make the decision to smile, to share the love of Jesus with others even when I feel rough.
So how am I assisted in shining like a light? This amazing passage shares, Hold firmly to the word of life, which in exploring the greek is talking about fixing our attention, our aim on the gospel message. I need to regularly recall that Christ died for me, so that my sins can be washed clean and I can come into God’s awesome presence! And doing this reminds me that I have a new life in Christ and that life is amazing!!
Time to go and shine my light, time to smile!
PS – So many comments regarding my post yesterday on facing depression. I am praying hard for those who are struggling.
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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan
The portion for today is: 2 Corinthians 4-5
To access the complete plan for the year click here