Wednesday, November 24, 2021
TOP 10 LIFE LIFTERS: For the next few weeks, we'll be re-releasing some of the top Life Lifters we've ever published since we started this devotional series. Join us as we look back at popular topics like prayer, joy, trust, and hope!
I get this because Paul gives us that admonition in Philippians 2:14-15. Philippians is Paul's letter of joy. He wrote it from prison, the last place you'd expect somebody to have joy, but joy is not happiness. You can be unhappy in prison and still filled with joy like Paul was. So while he's in prison, still filled with joy, he says this to the Philippians, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault and a crooked and depraved generation,' in which you shine like stars in the universe."
First, he says "Do everything without complaining or arguing." What's arguing? It can be a form of complaining sometimes. "I want this, I want that. I want this. I want that." James says it's competing battle of wills. Paul goes on and says if you do everything without complaining and arguing, then what happens is you shine like stars, you're filled with joy. If you don't, then you are like the crooked and depraved generation around us. How many know the crooked and depraved generation around us, which describes our generation, they're always complaining. They say, "I'm offended. I'm offended that you said that. I'm offended that you did that. I'm offended." Sometimes I just want to say "I'm offended that you're offended." Or people say, "My rights have been trampled." And unfortunately there's a lot of truth to that, but but sometimes their rights are actually their selfish needs. People are always complaining about something. And I'm telling you, I have never seen somebody that complains a lot filled with joy. Have you?
The problem is sometimes we look in the mirror and we find somebody who's doing a lot of complaining. Stop complaining. Accept it. Voice your concern, say something's wrong, challenge it, wish it were better, but don't camp out in complaining land. It'll rob your joy. Do less complaining and more contemplating. What does God want to do in your situation? Then, you will not be like the crooked and depraved generation around us, but you'll be, as Paul says, like shining stars. I think of that song by Earth Wind and Fire, "Got to be a shining star." Paul says, be a shining star. What does that mean? When you're a shining star you're filled with joy. So you get the choice: complain or joy? It's like two rabbits. You can't chase two rabbits at once. Get rid of complaining and chase down joy. Father, forgive us for being complainers. I am one who at times struggles with complaining. Help me to choose joy over complaining. Help people listening to choose joy over complaining, and we'll find more joy as a result. We ask you this in Jesus' name. Amen.