February 7, 2016
READ: Philippians 2:12-18
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people (v.15).
Shane (name changed to protect his identity) took a big job at a well-known company. Within a few months of overseeing its operations, he discovered some dark financial secrets. Doing his job, he delved into a morass of monetary fraud. As he exposed the impropriety, an unexpected thing happened. He was brought before the board of the company and threatened. Shane, a believer in Jesus, stood his ground. His integrity shone brightly even though he was released by the company’s board under false pretenses.
The church at Philippi knew only too well what it felt like to be persecuted for doing the right thing. Paul, under house arrest for preaching the good news, penned an encouraging message to the suffering Philippian believers. He told them:
Stay strong in Jesus. The apostle wrote, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13). As they relied on God, they could claim the promise that His power and presence would strengthen and help them do the right things.
Shine brightly for Jesus. “Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people,” Paul wrote (v.15). How do we do that? Paul implored the believers at Philippi to “hold firmly” to the good news that he had brought them and that they had believed (v.16).
What Paul shared wasn’t some pie-in-the-sky ideal; he had triumphantly faced the bitter sting of persecution many times. And yet even under house arrest he rejoiced in his suffering, and he desired that the Philippians “share that joy” (v.17).
May Jesus give you joy as you stay strong and shine brightly for Him—even if you’re persecuted for doing the right thing.
365-day-plan: Exodus 7:15-9:7
Read John 15:5 and consider what God does in and through us as we live surrendered, brightly shining lives for Him.
What’s keeping you from shining brighter for Jesus? How can you experience His power and presence more fully this week?