shine as lights

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 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 (Philippians 2:14)

stars

One of the things that distinguishes us as children of God and makes us stand out in a beautiful way from the world, shining like lights, is our lack of grumbling, second guessing, and complaining.  Or maybe I should say, should set us apart.  It can be easy to let the cares of our day wear us down and allow our mouths to spew unpleasantly like the world around us.

I stay at home with our two girls and wouldn’t trade it for the world.  But the toddler and preschool years are tiring and I find myself more often than I would like to admit grumbling to my husband about how tired I am, how overwhelmed  I am, how lonely I can feel etc.  Looking at the majority of mothering blogs I feel justified in this behavior.  Being a mom is hard so complaining comes with the territory – it’s justifiable.  At least I’m not like those moms spewing curse words in mothering articles on major websites or having melt downs on facebook or twitter etc.  My complaining is “sanctified”.

As I think about Christ though, the very one we are to seek to imitate, I don’t see a person grumbling and questioning.  He perfectly submitted himself to the Father’s will, never complaining about his lot in life or how difficult and exhausting it was to always be surrounded by masses of people or how misunderstood he was and consequently how lonely that made him feel.  All of these things were perfectly true, yet we didn’t hear a complaint.  More than anyone who has ever lived he would have had reason to grumble.  Perfect in every way he was despised, loving he was rejected, patient he was scorned, humble he was nailed to the cross.  Yet in all of this Jesus did not grumble or question.

In the perfect radiant light of Christ’s life, the justification we feel by comparing ourselves to the world evaporates.  We are to hold ourselves to a higher standard –  the standard of Christ.  Don’t get me wrong, being a Christian does not mean we are superheroes.  Like Christ on earth we are human with physical and emotional limitations.  Christ was constantly going away to spend time with the Father.  He took naps!  There are times we will be legitimately tired and emotionally drained.  But how about instead of grumbling or questioning we just take our worries to God or plan to take a nap.  Then instead of looking like the twisted and crooked generation that surrounds us we would shine as lights.