“You don’t have to be a star, baby, to be in my world.” Anyone recall that song? Ok, dates me, but for real…I want to be a star in your world. I want to shine. It is funny; I read that line in Philippians 2:12-16 and my world changed. Stars are my fascination and my symbol. It is my encouragement to those who shine in my world. They are stars. But I have realized that being a star is not just because we KNOW Jesus. It is because we shine Jesus.
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmuring and arguing [grumbling and complaining], so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. -Philippians 2:12-16
In my life, I conveniently skipped the part that it says obey and work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I seemed to have TOTALLY MISSED the do everything without grumbling or complaining so that I might become a blameless and pure child of God without blemish in a crooked and perverse generation. THEN…I will shine among the world like a star in the sky as I hold on tightly to the WORD.
I have a grand confession. I TOTALLY LOVE WHAT I GET TO DO AT MY JOB AND IN THE BODY OF CHRIST at my church. I TOTALLY hate the overwhelm that comes with the burdensome admin non-paperwork that is constantly changing in my professional world and I am frequently in the maelstrom of change and being asked to learn to do things in different ways and being told I have to do more to assure that I get the privilege of continuing to do what I TOTALLY love. What I totally love is wrapped in lots of stuff that I TOTALLY hate. I know that people in marriages, and those standing for their marriages, and those single, all get this.
Another grand confession to make: I complain. There…I have said it. I like to say I am easy going and roll with things, BUT I SERIOUSLY DON’T (God knows that). I don’t seem to be able to get started on a new/burdensome request at work until I complain about it. I DO NOT SHINE LIKE A STAR WHEN I DO, EITHER. I cannot shine when I whine.
I have been placed at an agency with others who serve Christ too. One in particular we will call “Starshine.” Because SHE shines. She loves Jesus and I can see it in her actions and I can hear it by what I never hear. I never hear her complain. EVER. I started this job and I was added to her tasks. She, though far from me in another area doing the same job I was to do, was to take me on and train me. Along with all of the stuff she was doing, she was to be my mentor. AND SHE NEVER ONCE COMPLAINED! She never made me feel like an inconvenience, a burden or a problem. SHE shined. Starshine has inspired me to listen to myself and I have heard the whining and I do not like it. I throw out negatives too often about the heavy burden of the “one more thing.”
Whatever situation we are in, I am pretty sure we would all agree that it is hard to listen to someone when they consistently complain without being willing to SHINE. There is a balance. I love that we can and do grieve with each other through the many challenges that the Lord places or allows in our lives. (And the Lord does place challenges and obstacles in our lives and way at times, but that is another study). We are called to walk this journey out with each other, to cry with one another, and have joy with one another. But if we become so overburdened by the heaviness in our journeys that we stop trying to see the hope and the joy of the Lord, or if we choose to opt out of participating in and with the body of Christ, we will become wearier. We’ll make it more difficult for ourselves to walk out of the fog.
Loving and living for Christ is intentional. It’s a choice, not a happenstance. It is not an accident but a submission to a loving God and HIS commandments. Notice Paul says “as you have been obedient.” Obedience means following commands, rules, directions…whatever. As I have been obedient, in not grumbling and NOT complaining or arguing…and on and on. I believe I have been led to address my disobedience in this area.
My daughter loves me. And God loves me. I am a little grumbly when she sends me stuff that really hits home because she loves me. Proverbs 29:11. That was her verse of the day and she thought to forward it to me because it was appropriate for me. It reads as follows: “A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back.”
I have work to do. I have asked others to hold me accountable to help me notice and stop when I begin to throw negative into the universe. When I whine, I cannot shine. Join me. Shine on. Be a Star.
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