And do ye all things without grumblings and doubtings; [Forsooth do ye all things without grutchings and doubtings;] that ye be without plaint, and simple as the sons of God, without reproof, in the middle of a depraved nation [in the middle of a shrewd nation] and a wayward; among which ye shine as givers of light in the world [among whom ye shine as givers of light in the world;]. And hold ye together the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ; for I have not run in vain, neither I have travailed in vain. [holding together the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ; for I have not run in vain, neither in vain travailed.]Philippians 2:14-16WYC
What are the enemies of a simple, reproof-free Christian life? Grumblings (or grutchings) and doubtings, if you read Paul. I imagine Paul bemoans the critical soul who wrings his hands and shakes his head at the world as it rushes by in its waywardness and depravity. I see Paul weeping over the Ebenezer Scrooges of the Christian world who bah-humbug their way through the Christian life. Paul does not wish to run his own race in vain. He desires the Christians he leads to “shine as givers of light in the world.” He wishes Christians to “hold…together the Word of Life” to his “glory in the day of Christ.”
Paul doesn’t say, “Do some things without grumblings and doubtings.” Rather he says to do all things with joy and faith which come of knowing the Lord. Then, and only then, will we shine as givers of light to the world.
God asks, “Who among you fears the Lord, listening to the voice of His Servant? Who among you walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of Yahweh; let him lean on his God.” (Isaiah 50: 10)
And in His next breath God states, in singularly marked contrast, “Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands; walk in the light of your fire and in the firebrands you lit! This is what you’ll get from My hand: you will lie down in a place of torment.” (Isaiah 50: 11)
We who work diligently to generate our own light remain in darkness while those of us who turn to Jesus for His Light find ourselves in the Light of Life. Jesus says, “I Am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me never walks in darkness but has the Light of Life.” (John 8: 12)
The light we may produce in our own power is no match for Jesus’ Light. We may put our little firebrands atop a hill and think they shine out in power, but the light we produce is too small and keeps us and others “in a place of torment” and dark. We need to stop making little fires, and turn to the One who is Light.
The reason our light is not light at all is because “we all go astray like sheep; we all turn to our own way.” Our way is a path of darkness; our darkness led God to “punish [Jesus] for the iniquity of us all.”
And Jesus says, “The Lord God…awakens Me each morning; He awakens My ear to listen like those being instructed. The Lord God opens My ear; and I Am not rebellious; I do not turn back. I give My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tear out My beard. I do not hide My face from scorn and spitting. The Lord God helps Me; therefore I Am not humiliated.” (Isaiah 50: 4 – 7)
Put down your firebrands; turn your ear to Jesus, the voice of God’s Servant. Let His Light shine in you. For He is not humiliated, and He overcomes the dark.
Jesus speaks to the scribes and Pharisees, telling each that He is the light of the world, that He is going away and that they will not find Him when they seek Him; instead they “will die in [their] sin.” (John 8: 21)
“As He is saying these things, many believe in Him.” (John 8: 30)
He tells the Jews who believe in Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
These same Jews who believe in Him nevertheless do not accept that they need Him. They protest, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.” (John 8: 33)
Jesus tells them they are slaves to sin. He tells them they “do what [they] hear from [their] father.” (John 8: 38) They claim Abraham as their father. Jesus tells them that the devil is their father. “The reason you do not hear [the Words of God] is that you are not of God.” (John 8: 47)
These Jews who believe in Him say He has a demon. They say He can not possibly be greater than Abraham. Jesus claims, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8: 58)
“So [the Jews who believe in Him] pick up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hides Himself and goes out of the temple.” (John 8: 59)