Philippians 2:14-16 (NASB) Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
I was reading through Philippians a couple weeks ago, and this passage in particular stood out to me. I thought about how I conduct myself in the day to day. Do I embody this? Is this condition of heart evident to others at work, in my relationships? The answer, shamefully, is likely no.
I didn’t spend a great deal of time, certainly not any amount of serious contemplation and application, of this passage beyond that day’s pondering. However, on Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Pastor Jeff Rabe, and something he said, brought me back to this passage for today’s writing. He said (paraphrased), “regardless what is happening around us, to us, for us or by us, our focus must be first and foremost on our relationship with God. If we are walking rightly, with God, we are blameless, despite the outcome, despite the other person(s) or world’s view, we are blameless if we adhere rightly to God and His word.”
He’d be pleased to know that his words did not fall on deaf ears. Wednesday’s lunch was one of God’s divine appointments He set for me, for my betterment. It was just one of the multitude of appointments He uses to draw my focus back to where it belongs, on Him. You see, when I am focused on Him, really drawn near, hearing from Him, listening to Him, obeying His commands, seeking His path… things work. That doesn’t mean my life is without problems, undesirable circumstance or strained relationships. It means, I’m “blameless” regardless of whether others perceive it that way as well. If I am following closely with Him, allowing Him to work through me, I’m innocent, righteous by His estimate. And… isn’t that all any of us really need?
When I feel close to Him, in full pursuit, things work, I work, He works through me. It may not always lead to the outcome I desire, but it leads to the correct one, and God willing the impact ripples through to others. When I proceed without grumbling, without disputing, when I respond thoughtfully, by taking it to God first, applying His word, praying in the spirit, it’s right. When I don’t, I react rather than respond, from a carnal instead of a righteous heart, and things get jacked up. When I react in this way, I’m anything but righteous, though in most these cases I puff myself up as though I am. I am anything but blameless or innocent. If anything, because I know what the alternative response should be, I am the greater transgressor.
I have a lot of work to do, but here’s the thing… I know what it is and what it takes. It requires a deeply devoted pursuit of God, a hunger for His word, and an emboldening and cultivating of the Holy Spirit within me. Without any single variable of that equation, it won’t be done. Have a blessed weekend.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,