Several years ago, living in USA military community in Germany, I was invited to participate in physical training (PT) with the Chaplain Corp of the army. So all the chaplains and assistants, commissioned and non-commissioned. The Command chaplain gave me my own PT uniform. Shorts and a T-shirt – he didn’t give me socks. They had just changed from light color to black. So I wore Black Socks. I was the only one, in about 50 with Black Socks. I was “out of uniform”. And everyone was asking, “who’s the guy in black socks?” They all wanted to be able to wear black socks but couldn’t
Philippians 2:12 Paul doesn’t say “work it in” but “work it out.” Jesus told us we are a City on a hill that can’t be hidden, a light meant to be visible, not covered. Then in v13 Paul continues, God is working IN us to both will and do what pleases him. I know some days we don’t WANT to “work it out”, but keep it in, yet God in You, the Holy Spirit, in the will of the Father, with the message of the Son’s Gospel, makes you WANT to, and creates the opportunity while giving the power to work it OUT.
Then Paul tells us HOW to work it out.
V14 – cut out the grumbling and arguing … Hello Somebody, Hello Church.
V15 Why? So you may be blameless, pure, and faultless.
The challenge for the church of Jesus Christ is great and we need not make it worse by ruining our reputation with our grumbling and arguing. Paul reminds that we are in the midst of a crooked and perverted Generation, and we need to be different in the best ways. Oh my have you read “Christians” on social media, come on. We are to SHINE like STARS
V16 “BY”… see here is the thing. The people of God WILL stand out… we ARE different… One BLACK Sock in a sea of WHITE will stand out. The Question is “by what will we be known?”
Will they say, “there are those people of God, always complaining about something, always fighting with someone”. Is that how we are to be known? No
V16 “by holding firm to the word of life” – what is the word of life? John 1.4 “in him (Jesus) was life and that life was the light of men 5 that light shines in the darkness and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”
If we would be known for being people that shine light, offer life, give hope in the darkness, oh my if only that is what we were known for. Love where there is no love, life where there is no life, hope where there is no hope.
I don’t have to argue with darkness just shine light. I don’t have to put down darkness, make fun of darkness, just shine the light.
And if I give my life to be a pure, faultless, blameless giver of light, then I, like Paul, v17 “I am glad and rejoice” why because it was an act of worship on the altar of God, a gift of life to a dying world. And Paul closes as do I v18 “and you should also be glad and rejoice with me.”
By the way, a few weeks after my PT with the chaplain corp the army changed the “uniform” to black socks to match the rest of the uni and I was then known jokingly as the “civilian pastor who got our socks changed.”
How will you be known ?