Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? People are watching you. You may not know it, but they are.
They want to see if this Christianity stuff is true. Sadly there have been so many Christian hypocrites. They say one thing and do another. Their walk doesn’t match their talk. There have been so many preachers who say Jesus changes us, then are greedy or immoral.
When non-Christians see believers fail to do what they preach, that gives the unbelievers an excuse. “See, this stuff isn’t true. This Christianity doesn’t make any difference in their lives. They’re just like the rest of us.”
Paul told the Philippians to let their light shine before a watching world:
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… PHP 2.14-15
I find it interesting that Paul exhorted them not to grumble. Why not exhort them not to murder or rob? Maybe because most people don’t commit major “crimes.”
But most people grumble and complain. It’s normal to grumble about the weather (especially if you’re English – hey I didn’t say it, an Englishman did). It’s normal to complain about our political leaders or our boss at work or that idiot who pulled in front of me in his car.
When I taught elementary art years ago, it was common in the teacher’s lounge for people to badmouth the principal or slander other teachers not there at the time. Grumbling is the language of the workplace. Everybody complains.
As a young believer who taught elementary art, Paul’s exhortation was really life changing for me. I sought to be cheerful in the teacher’s lounge, to never join in on the slander and grumbling. To stand apart. In other words, to be blameless and innocent and shine in the darkness.
You never know who is watching you. Over the years there were a number of times I’d be in a store, for example, at a meat counter and the butcher or clerk would ask me, “Hey, aren’t you the pastor of Saving Grace Church?” “Yes,” I’d say, “but how do you know me?” “Oh, I came a few weeks back and heard you preach.”
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Our kids are always watching us. How do you react when they disobey or you don’t get to watch that TV show you wanted to because you have to resolve a “conflict” your kids are having.
I remember once when our kids were little we came home after Christmas shopping and when we opened the front door we were greeted by our Christmas tree lying prostrate on the floor. Not only that but because the tree was in a corner, I hadn’t wrapped the lights around it but strung them back and forth across the front.
When the tree fell, all the lights fell off it too. I remember Stephen looking up at me to see what I would. I felt like yelling “OH GREAT!” but somehow God gave me the grace not to grumble but to say, “Ahhhhhh. Praise God! The tree fell down. Oh well, guess we’ll have to set it up again.” For the rest of the night, Stephen kept saying, ‘Praise God! The tree fell down!”
Our children are watching us. Our neighbors are watching us. So are our co-workers, and the guy at the meat counter. Will they see you grumble and complain or will they see a child of God without blemish shining as a light in a dark world?