Philippians

Philippians: Servants of Christ

This devotional is written by Francesca Nicholls. Francesca is practicing to be a human rights barrister, and will soon be married to Magic Max, who is part of many fun revelries at the Life Course Weekend Away!

Philippians 2:12-30

Do Everything Without Grumbling 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation."[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus 19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.


Reflection

The pandemic has affected us all. I often find myself 'grumbling' and 'arguing,' not only with family and friends over my broken career and lack of financial stability, but God too: 'God, why is this pandemic not over?' The Greek word for 'arguing' in the context of this passage is 'dialogízoma' meaning: 'a confused conclusion.' Everyday our lives can carry this burden of confusion; where is my life going?

Despite this desire to argue and grumble, Paul tells us that we must 'appear as lights in the world.' How difficult is it for all of us to be a source of the light of Christ during these difficult times?

 Paul provides us with the answer: we must 'hold fast the word of life.' This can be understood to mean that we must stand firm in our faith in Christ. We must continue to connect with the Holy Spirit, to speak to God, and to draw closer to Him. If we 'grumble and argue' we fail to 'appear as the lights of the world.' Who can come to Christ through us if we ourselves bemoan our existence; the very life God gave us?

As Christians, we make a daily commitment that we will hold out the light of God and cast out the shadows; it is our responsibility to tells others that Jesus is: 'the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life' [John 8:12].

So, as Paul tells us, we must 'rejoice' and 'share in the word of God.' We must not 'grumble' or 'argue' but 'appear as lights in the world.' When we do so, when we 'hold fast the word of life,' we are no longer burdened by dialogízoma or a confused conclusion. Our paths are set straight.

With this in mind I pray Lord Jesus that, even when those reading this have felt dejected, forlorn, forgotten and overwhelmed, by both the pandemic and the daily difficulties of life, that you will show them your light; that they will come to know you are the ultimate breaker of darkness, and in you we will share in joy and certainty. Amen.


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