Passage for Study: Acts 16: 16 - 40 … Acts 16 linked for study …
2nd Scripture Reference: Philippians 2: 1-18 … Please go to Philippians 2 for study.
My Journal for Today: The Apostle Paul preached some hard lessons in the passage for today from Phil 2; and he certainly modeled what he preached. Here he was chained to prison guards in Rome, not knowing if the day he wrote the letter to Philippi would be his last. However, he did know that the only way the Gospel would shine (as Christ had instructed in Matt. 5: 16) would happen if the Christians of his day, like himself, were obviously different from those in the 1st Century world. And different Paul was; and so should we Christians of today be as we try to shine Christ’s light to glorify God in an ever darkening world.
Paul lived and preached that Christians must have and exhibit and attitude like that of Christ (see Phil. 2: 5), an attitude of humility, living with contentment and joy no matter what the circumstances. And Paul’s prison guards had to be impressed with how he spoke with such humble, but confident, hope about the God-Man Jesus. Paul knew that avoiding being seen as a grumbler would shine Christ’s light in a very dark place; and so he modeled what he preached in Phil. 2: 14-15.
Chuck Swindoll quotes a former mentor of his, Ray Stedman, who taught Swindoll, “We live in a world of crooks and perverts. What an opportunity to be winsomely different.” And that is so right-on. Living out the attitude of joy and contentment, even as we’re sourrounded by persecution and evil in this day, has to shine a light that is noticeably different from others in our world. If you work in the coporate or political world and maintain Biblicaly-based habits of honesty and integrity, you will stand out, my friend. If you’re a teenager and you maintain personal purity and reject the “pornified” world around you, you will stand out. Even choosing to live as Christ described Himself in Matt. 11: 29 as “humble and meek,” will separate one from the milieu of this world. The world would have us be aggressive and prideful. So, my fellow Christian, if we follow the lead of Paul - and especially that of Christ - we’re going to stand out and others will be drawn to us as light bearers in the midst of darkness.
I pray that will be our approach to life and we grow to learn contentment as did Paul when he was chained in a Roman prison. When we live with joy in the midst of strife and contentment in the midst of privation, we’re going to be having the cedibility of Christlikeness to shine His light for all to see Him.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, Help me to shine Your light of contentment and joy in today’s world so that others will see Your robes of righteousness hiding my rags of sin. Amen