Google+ 01/17/13 Complimenting and Affirming!

Philippians 2:14-16

 

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God,

Shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return,

I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 

 

Have you ever noticed that a large number of people have a favorite pass-time?  If you listen, you will hear it at church, Starbucks, work, restaurants, public restrooms, department stores, and family gatherings.  No, it's not golf!  It is complaining and arguing.  At the end of the day, I often sit down and go over what I accomplished for God.  That is how I measure my success.  Many times, what I thought I would accomplish, I didn't.  That's okay, God gets to change His mind and move me in a different direction.  If it is God doing the "changing," I am fine with that.  I am not one of those people that is afraid of change.  I have learned in my 35 years of ministry not to fall in love with a particular job or circumstance.  God often has different ideas!  If I sit down at night and discover I have not been productive for God because of complaining and arguing, that is an entirely different story.  Our Scripture today really points this out, and I am hoping if you are a "complainer" or an "arguer," this will mean even more to you and help you not "run the race in vain."  Paul is speaking to the church at Philippi.  The city of Philippi was founded and named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.  It was designated as a military colony with special privileges of citizenship.  Proud of these special citizenship privledges, the people of Philippi called themselves Romans.  This letter is in response to the gift of money and other useful items that the Philippians sent to Paul when he was in prison in Rome.  Paul is desperately trying to tell the Philippians that their actions and behavior must reflect their Christianity.  Paul wants them to know that their testimony to unsaved people, is found in their daily actions.  This is why the reference is to "living clean lives in a world full of crooked and perverse people."  Pretty harsh, right?  Absolutely not.  Paul is speaking the truth, and the Philippians and modern day Americans need to hear it!  Now if you think this statement is harsh, look at the end of today's Scripture.  Paul basically tells the Philippians to complain and argue is to waste your entire life. Paul makes it personal.  He states that when Christ returns, Paul will have not run the race in vain and that his work will not be useless in the Kingdom.  What is the key to accomplishing this?  Look carefully, because Paul tells us.  Paul says for us to hold firmly to the "word of life."  Okay, don't miss this.  The "word of life" is certainly not complaining or arguing.  These are "words of death."  They destroy you and destroy others.  Remember 1 Corinthians:1-2?  Even if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and I possess the gift of prophecy, understand all mysteries, and have all knowledge, if I speak without love, I am nothing."  Yes, without the "word of life," we are NOTHING.  Stop complaining and arguing.  Paul tells us that if we are doing these two things, any work that we do will be in vain and useless.  I am proposing a new pass-time today.  Let's stop wasting our time and the time of others.  Let's change "complaining and arguing" to "complimenting and affirming."  Let's use the blessings God has given us to commend, not condemn.  When I sit down today to review my day, I want to be tired from rejoicing, not ridiculing.  I want my work for the Kingdom to not be in vain.  How about you?