We’re called to be different! But when it comes to how you respond to circumstances, tests, trials, the state of our nation, economy or politics … are you whining or shining? And why does it matter?
Isaiah 17 & 18
2 Corinthians 5.1-21
Are You Whining or Shining?
Isaiah 17 & 18:
A Remnant … Whining or Shining?
In these chapters God through the prophet continues to warn of coming judgments, but reminds them there will always be a faithful remnant (Is. 18.6).
Philippians 2.14-15 says we are to:
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that [we] may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world” (emp. added).
How’s your light? Is it bright and clear? Is it dim and hidden by junk (sin or the cares of this world)? Or do you just whine and complain like everyone else?
If we are going to give hope to a lost and dying world, even in the midst of discouraging times and setbacks, we must point to the only source of real hope. Our hope cannot be in the government, the hope that our nation will wake up and turn back to God, or any person or event.
Our hope must be in all the truths and promises of Scripture: God’s free offer of salvation to those who will believe, His divine supports here and now to those who belong to Him, the reality of heaven and the promise of eternal rewards. And while our saltiness may sting at times, it must be balanced with a brightness that will cause others to want what we have.
Today’s Other Readings:
Holding Out the Light, Not Taking Part in the Darkness
As the psalmist continues to recount the history of the Israelites, he includes these verses about their involvement with pagan religions, even taking part in the most detestable practices.
35 But they mingled with the Gentiles
And learned their works;
36 They served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
37 They even sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons,
38 And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with blood.
In 2 Corinthians 6.14-17 Paul said:
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God …
17 Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord …”
Because we have not obeyed that command, like the ancient Israelites of Isaiah’s time, we are often more a part of our culture then we are separate from it. We are so afraid of being called “intolerant” or of being accused of being narrow minded or ignorant that we have accepted the world’s philosophy on many things or at least been intimidated into silence while unborn babies are being killed, history is rewritten, and truth becomes relative.
If we are truly going to be His light, the world must see us as different from the culture around us, not self-righteous and prideful, not mean-spirited and argumentative, but holding out to a hurting world the love of Christ and allowing them to see that the living God’s way is the way to peace, joy, and blessings.
Loving Rebuke, Part of Offering Light
Verse 12, “Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.”
Of course, there will be those who ignore the truth and even fling it back at us, but there will also be some who will listen if we allow God to help us to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4.15).
2 Corinthians 5.1-21:
Always the Goal
No matter what is going on in the world, in our families, or in our circumstances, our goal is to be the same as Paul’s:
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
We need to fear God and have a desire to please Him, rather than trying to please man. “The fear of man (worrying about what people think of us) brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe” (Prov. 29.25).
In the next few days, we’ll talk about how delayed obedience equals disobedience, presumptuous sins, the Rapture, the Tribulation and more.
Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!
Featured Resources on Kindle or in Books:
About A Godward Heart: John Piper invites you to experience deeper intimacy with God through these thought-provoking and soul-enriching meditations. Whether you are just discovering the divine richness of Scripture or have long been a passionate student, you’ll find a deeper understanding of God and renewed insight for your journey.
About Transforming Grace: The freedom in falling short of God’s standard relies on His gift of grace. Unfortunately, too many of us forget the free offer. We spend our lives basing our relationship with God on our performance rather than on Him. We see our identity as never being worthy of His love.
Isn’t it time to stop trying to measure up and begin accepting the transforming power of God’s grace?
About When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man: However you put it, the fear of man can be summarized this way: We replace God with people. Instead of a biblically guided fear of the Lord, we fear others.
Of course, the “fear of man” goes by other names. When we are in our teens, it is called “peer pressure.” When we are older, it is called “people-pleasing.” Recently, it has been called “codependency.” With these labels in mind, we can spot the fear of man everywhere.
Have you ever struggled with peer pressure? Are you over-committed? Do you find that it is hard to say no even when wisdom indicates that you should? Are you are a “people-pleaser”? Do you “need” something from your spouse? Do you “need” your spouse to listen to you? Respect you? Think carefully here. Certainly God is pleased when there is good communication and a mutual honor between spouses. But for many people, the desire for these things has roots in something that is far from God’s design.
Is self-esteem a critical concern for you? This, at least in the United States, is the most popular way that the fear of other people is expressed. If self-esteem is a recurring theme for you, chances are that your life revolves around what others think. You reverence or fear their opinions.
Do you ever feel as if you might be exposed as an impostor? It means that the opinions of other people — especially their possible opinion that you are a failure — are able to control you. Are you always second-guessing decisions because of what other people might think? Do you get easily embarrassed?
THE problem is clear: People are too big in our lives and God is too small.
You can also Shop for Other Resources