Reflection March 22
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16
In this season of Lent, I sit here with the words of this passage – convicted.
It would be so easy for me to read these words and convince myself of my own goodness. Keeping my mouth shut can be a simple accomplishment. Just don’t speak.
But God is not impressed nor fooled by external behavior or public perfection. Throughout His time on earth, Jesus constantly addressed superficial spirituality, separated from the source—from Himself.
As much as I hate to admit, I fall too often into this category. I desire control so I will take it at any cost and justify it through any means, even good intentions. My complaining and grumbling may not be verbal, but I find my attitude often opposed to Christ. This passage stands as a call to something and Someone greater. Immediately prior, Paul addresses the humility of Christ in whom there was no complaining nor grumbling, but rather perfect trust and surrender—even to the point of death on a cross.
Let that sink in.
A lack of complaining and grumbling is not as simple as acting cheerful at work or the grocery store. It is not flawlessly presenting the appearance of a “good Christian.” Rather, it encompasses a denial of both myself and the assertion of my own perceived rights.
How often do I lack this surrender in my life? How often do I come to God with demands, feeling justified in doing so because of my self-centered pride? I believe I know best because I define comfort, success, and security for myself. When my demands are not met to my liking, how often do I take action and attempt to manipulate circumstances in my favor? How often do I rebel against God?
I see Christ in the garden. Sweating blood from a body He would not have needed apart from my rebellion. Feeling the anguish of sin’s separation that was mine to bear. Pleading for the mercy, which would fall on me instead. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”
The light in the midst of darkness. Within a world opposed to God and for a world opposed to God, Jesus surrendered to His Father.
Jesus has accomplished what I could not. His Spirit empowers my participation in the Father’s redemptive work.
Father, Your wisdom is perfect. You alone understand what is best not only for this world but for each of Your children. Through Your Spirit may I learn to say, “Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.”