A few years ago, I found myself at church late at night making a few corrections to the Sunday morning bulletin. After I had completed my work, I made my way into the sanctuary to place the bulletins by the front entrance. The lights were off. It was pitch black. But I was familiar with the sanctuary. I figured if I made my way to the center isle, it was a safe and easy shot to the front doors. I knew the sanctuary like I knew my own living room. No big deal.
Everything was going according to plan until my shin came in contact with the seat level of the first pew. This caused me to fall forward at such a rate that my chest slammed against the top of the back rest of the pew. The force of this second collision caused me to flip over the first pew and land on my back on top of the second pew. When I finally limped my way to a light switch, I discovered substantial bleeding on my right shin and a massive welt on my sternum. The bruise on my chest remained for months.
Sometimes we get comfortable in the dark. But darkness can be dangerous. Sometimes we wear the bumps and bruises of walking in darkness. Yet, as followers of Jesus Christ we are call to shine in darkness.
In Philippians 2:12-18 Paul exhorts the church to do all things without grumbling or arguing. The people of God have a long history of grumbling. Just look to the book of Exodus and the grumbling at the leadership of Moses and Aaron. A lack of grumbling and an abundance of modeling the behavior of Christ, leads to the ability to shine as light in the midst of darkness. It is the church’s Christ-like behavior that stands in contrast to the world.
There is a lot of grumbling and arguing in this world. The church is called to be different. The church must be different. Rather than holding on to grumbling and arguing, Philippians 2:12-18 exhorts to the church to hold on to the word of life.
When you hold on to the word of life – you will shine in darkness.