Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father grow in us an ever-increasing commitment to obeying his commands. Father, it is so easy to forget you. We get lost in living our day to day lives that we forget to come to your word and be formed by it according to your will. Help us to remember you Father. Bring us back to your word again and again. In the name of your son Jesus, help us to hear your voice and, by the Spirit, eagerly obey.
Your Morning Song: "Teach Us That One Song" by Jon Guerra
Your Morning Scripture: Philippians 2:14-16
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Sometimes I like to read the Bible with an eager eye for what we might call "unavoidable realities." Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I really don't.
By "unavoidable realities" I simply mean God's gives a clear command. There's no room to debate over wording or what exactly he means. God gives a clear command and either we obey him or we disobey him, but there is no other option, no other choice, no other outcome.
Here are some of the unavoidable realities in the verses above, some clear commands:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing... -- Not some things, not only what you enjoy, but do all things with the right heart. How we do what we do matters to God enough that he commands us not only what to do, but how to do. God commands us, do not grumble (= argumentative bitterness against him) and do not dispute (= argumentative bitterness against each other).
...that you may be blameless and innocent... -- God will hold us accountable for not obeying him in "how" we do all things. Being innocent and blameless before God will have much to do with "how" we lived our lives. Not just that did churchy stuff, fellowshipped sometimes, went to a bible study, and served in ministries and did some outreach stuff, but we did what we did with the right heart. God will declare guilty those who grumble and dispute amongst his people.
...children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation... -- God is holy and calls us to be holy. And he will declare us as his children, holy, different/peculiar/set apart from the unbelieving world around them (crooked and twisted), based on how we do what we do, not only that we do it (all things!). And if we do grumble and dispute, as God's children, then the world we will see no difference between us and themselves, and rightly call us hypocrites, and accuse us of paying lip-service to a joke of a God.
...among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life... -- God calls us to an impossible standard. Not only "do all things" but do them "without grumbling and disputing." He says do what I say, how I say it. But how can we meet this impossible standard in this impossible way? The word of life. The Gospel of Jesus who is the Christ. We ourselves do not shine, but it is the Gospel that shines through us. All we need do is cling to it.
And now we can look at these "unavoidable realities" and ask ourselves the most useful sorts of questions like, are we living obediently to all of this? Is any of this surprising to us? Would anyone who knows us be surprised at how we viewed ourselves in light of these "unavoidable realities?"
And now we've come to the fun part. Let's call it the "subtle implication." Often times God plainly reveals unavoidable realities to us, clear commands with the expectation that we obey him. And as we wrestle with his commands, with his call to obedience, as we internalize what he's actually asking of us, he likes to give us just a little more, just a small, sharp, sobering "subtle implication."
Here are two...
"Shine as lights in the world" -- We are often tempted to remain in our Christian bubble, or to run away from what makes us uncomfortable, at work, at home, etc. If I have all the lights on in a room and light a candle in a that room, so what? What a waste! We must acknowledge that where God has us is where Jesus is. We cannot run from a dark place without first faithfully attempt to shine in it according to God's commands. Don't flee without first considering what God wants. Perhaps it is to obediently shine
"so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." -- If you claim to have been claimed by Christ, and yet your obedience is grudging, bitter, grumbling, and divisive, all you have done, all the miles you have run, all your labor, was in vain.
There is nothing left then but to run whole-heartedly towards God's commands, entrusting our whole selves to the Good News that Jesus came not to make bad people good, but dead people live.