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. (Philippians 2:14-16)
The way a Christian deals with disputes and conflicts stands in sharp contrast to the crooked and perverse generation in which he or she lives. Christians endeavor to live without complaining or grumbling, and without the disputing or arguing that usually arises over such complaints. Make it your goal today not to grumble and argue but instead, to resolve every dispute that may occur at home, at work or at school. By doing so you are holding fast the word of life and shining as a light in the world.
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)
Chaos reigns where there is no respect for the rule of law. When people respect no law higher than themselves, moral anarchy becomes rampant as in the days of Israel recorded in the book of Judges. It was not because Israel had no earthly king that they were in turmoil, but that they were rejecting God as their Sovereign (1 Samuel 8). Even today, untold millions believe they are their only master and answer to no one. Doing what is right in your own eyes means you are not yet acknowledging God and His authority over you. There is a King who rules over all the earth today, and His name is Jesus. Honor the King, do what is right in His eyes, and live in His blessings. All else is futile.
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)
Anyone who has ever used a pattern to sew a garment knows that you must secure the pattern to the material in order to cut out the pieces properly. Otherwise, the garment will not fit! Likewise, if we do not “hold fast the pattern of sound words” that come from the apostles of Christ, we will not possess the genuine “faith and love which are in Christ Jesus”. It is crucial that you cling to the teachings of Christ’s apostles because what they wrote “are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). And, please notice that a “pattern” of “sound words” does indeed exist. The words of the apostles are “sound” (wholesome, healthy) and teach us “faith and love” in Christ. When we violate their teaching we do not honor Christ. Hold fast to the word of Christ in order to have the “faith and love” that pleases God.
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. 9 Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call. (Psalm 20:7-9)
Where are you putting your trust? In yourself? In your family? In your friends? In your material possessions? In your God? Men often trust in the might of armies to defeat their enemy, but God’s people will always trust “the name of the Lord our God.” His eternal power, presence, wisdom, glory and word assures us of success against the strongest foe. Our King reigns over heaven and earth. He hears us when we call on Him for strength and relief: “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you” (Psalm 20:1). “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). Choose the “better” course today and put your trust in the Lord. “Come to Jesus, He will save you, though your sins as crimson flow, If you give your heart to Jesus, He will make it white as snow” (“Come to Jesus”, Eden R. Latta).
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:11-14)
Fellowship is a sharing, a communion, a participation in common with others. We cannot take a “live and let live” approach to sin and the works of error. We are to have “no fellowship” with sin. The “unfruitful works of darkness” must be exposed and reproved in all its forms (immorality and false teaching). The light of God’s word exposes sin and corrects error (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Sin is shameful and must not be given a place in the life of the Christian. It is time to wake up and walk in the light of truth. That will include opposing and exposing sin as surely as upholding righteousness.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich. (Proverbs 28:6)
For what will you compromise your integrity? Before quickly saying, “for nothing”, remember that Peter denied knowing Jesus three times just hours after claiming to be ready to die with Him. Many yield their integrity for a few extra coins in their pocket or a few more dollars in their bank account. Others abandon their honor for the passing fulfillment of fleshly lusts. When we walk in sin we have abandoned our integrity before God for the shame our sin produces. Reclaim and guard your integrity before God and among men by repenting of your sins and choosing to walk in God’s good will. Lay up your treasures in heaven. Have a contented heart and walk in the integrity of faith every day. The way of sin always produces shame, never integrity. Which path do you walk?
1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, 3 and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. (Psalm 107:1-3)
God’s goodness and mercy are compelling reasons to “give thanks to the LORD”. God redeemed a remnant of Israel from Babylonian exile, and by it foreshadowed the gathering of His “remnant according to the election of grace” through Jesus Christ (Rom. 11:5). All who wish to be freed from the shackles of sin may come to the Lord for redemption. God is good and His mercy is never-ending. Give thanks to God and gather to Him for salvation in Jesus, the Son of God.