Lights Within This World - Philippians 2:12-18

Lights Within This World

How often are we doing the right thing when no one is around?

What are we doing to further our walk with God, and are we doing it with Joy?


Philippians 2:12-18

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.


Paul acknowledges that the Philippians have been obedient to the Lord. Now, he praises them for continuing to be obedient despite Paul not being there with them or possibly not returning to them. We also are called to obey the Lord and work according to His will. We, especially, are to do this when our spiritual leaders are not around. We can easily tell our pastors and leaders what they want to hear, but what are we doing when we are not around them? Obeying the Lord when no one is around is an act of spiritual maturity.

Paul tells us to ‘work out’ our own salvation. However, notice that Paul does not tell us to ‘work for’ our salvation. Salvation is not through works alone. Our salvation is a gift by the grace of God. Then, if we freely receive that gift, it is now our responsibility to grow in our walk with Him. It is our duty to obey and willingly follow the Holy Spirit’s direction. Once we obey and follow by changing the attitude of our hearts, we then can act in unity as a body of believers. We must actively allow God to do His work within us before He can work through us. This takes humility and submission. Then we can strive to be Christ-like. We will continually fail because we are not perfect, but Christ is the example that we should seek to emulate.

How can we start? Paul tells us not to complain but to rejoice in Christ in all things we do. Paul uses the example of Israel from Deuteronomy by using the phrase ‘crooked and perverse generation.’ Their progress toward the promised land was thwarted because of their grumbling and complaining. We are called to be the light amongst those around us who are doing the grumbling and complaining. Take joy in the trials you experience because God is using them to build your spiritual maturity. By doing so, we may be found blameless within our wicked world today. Paul does not tell us to shy away and become a recluse so that we aren’t influenced by the wickedness around us. No, we are called to be a light to this dying world and make disciples of all nations. We are to be the example of Christ, and it will not be easy. We are to hold fast to the word of life. Holding fast means to both believe and follow God’s Word. Why? Because our ultimate reward is being able to rejoice at the return of Jesus Christ, whether it is while we are still here on earth or taken up to heaven.

Paul recognizes his potential end in this world and relates it to a drink offering being poured out on the sacrifice and service of the Philippians' faith. He views his life as a living sacrifice for the furthering of the Gospel of Jesus. Can we view our lives in a similar manner, or even just a part of our lives? Paul views his likely death as a victory because he knows that his work with the Philippians will continue on because of their obedience in their faith to God.

Do we have the submissive mindset of being a sacrificial servant to Jesus Christ? Therefore, continue to "work out" your heart with God so that He may do a work through you. Humbly strive to ensure you do all things for the glory of God and become the light within this dark world. Start small with prayer and reading, and then build from there.

Be the example that others may need.

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