12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Philippians 2:12-17 (NKJV)
In the middle of this passage of Scripture where the Apostle Paul is admonishing believers to live out their lives in a perverse world in a way that honors our Lord, He gives us this challenge to let our lights shine for the entire world to see.
Sometimes we Christians forget that the world is always watching, and they are very quick to recognize when we are not living up to the standards that the Word of God sets for us. None of us are perfect, but all believers in Jesus Christ should always be striving to be that beacon of light that will show the way out of darkness into the light to someone else.
I had three recent experiences that reminded me of our responsibility to be light in a dark world. I live in a small town in East Texas. Several weeks ago I was in our local grocery store. I engaged in conversation with a young man that I knew casually from attendance at Church. After finishing our conversation, I started to walk away and he stopped me and said that he had something he wanted to say to me. He quoted Philippians 2:15, then he said to me, “I just wanted you to know that your light burns brightly in this community.” I had no idea this young man was watching the life of this old preacher.
We recently took a trip overseas. The flight home was a long one that came after a 3 hour delay. I needed assistance after getting off the plane because of recent back surgery. The airline had not provided sufficient help for all of those who needed assistance. This caused me a great deal of agitation and I reflected it in my harsh words. As I reflected on that event later, I was embarrassed and glad that no one asked me if I was a Christian. I let my guard down and let Satan have the victory that day. I certainly did not let my light shine for my Lord.
Recently the Church where I am pastor was having an after Church Bar-B-Que dinner. It was catered by a local business in our small town. I went in a few weeks before the event and ordered the meal from the owner, and then I called her once more just to confirm everything. When she delivered the meal, she told one of our men that she was very impressed with their pastor. She then told him that she and her husband had not been in Church in 20 years, but were going to attend our Church. I have no idea what it was that impressed her so, but the point is that the world is always watching. The Lord can take the smallest things we do and shine light on the darkness, if we are willing to let our light shine for Him.
You are God’s light in this dark world.