There's a potent little passage that caught my attention this morning in Philippians 2. It's not the normal Philippians 2 passage though (a.k.a. the Philippian hymn in 2.5-11). A few verses after that, Paul instructs the Philippians to live as children of God, unstained by the world but shining as lights in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation, holding fast to the Word of Truth. Three things stuck out:
Our lives should be different than the world. Paul uses the words spotless and blameless. While this isn't a revolutionary thought, let's be clear: when my life lines up against the life of someone who doesn't know Jesus, there ought to be a substantial, demonstrable difference. My TV watching, internet surfing, reading, reactions, conversations, chores, marriage, parenting, habits, generosity, and willingness to sacrifice ought to be very different than theirs. They can be wonderful and moral, but my life should be different because Christ is in it.
Our lives shouldn't be out of touch with the world. What Paul means by his comment is that there is ministry to be done. We are to shine the light into that darkness. He uses the phrase "in the midst of the crooked and perverted generation." It's easy to focus on the "crooked and perverted" part - and at times, that's exactly where we should focus to remain unstained. However, we also live in their midst. Relationally, we connect with neighbors who need marital help and parental help and financial help. We see our relationships with others as bridges of ministry opportunities. We resist the urge to fortress ourselves among "Christian" memorabilia and reach out to the world around us.
Our lives should be confidently founded on what's true. What makes both of the above paragraphs possible is my confident faith that what I'm doing and saying is right. It's not a matter of arrogance because I didn't discover it - it was revealed to me. I get to live confidently because Jesus is alive, He changes lives, and He's returning to set everything right.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...