“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crookest and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights of the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”
If I am being completely transparent, I need these verses. This week has been extremely difficult as a wife and mom. My little boy has not slept well in the past two weeks. I think I get up and down 4-6 times a night going from our room to his. Plus, I am up by 5am every morning to teach for 2-3 hours. My daughter is in her terrible two’s and I think she is getting disciplined more times throughout the day than being praised. Our house is rather large and the cleaning it requires can be daunting, especially around the holiday season. I am exhausted. Thank goodness, though, we serve a God who calls us to himself and says “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for you soul (Matt. 11:28-29).”
If we are being honest, I have grumbled, I have disputed, and I have blamed. I have not displayed the characteristics that we, as children of God, are called to display. I have not exuberated the light of God in my home. I have strived in these past two weeks to do things in my own strength, which as a Christian, is the complete opposite of what we are called to do. The beauty of the gospel is that we in ourselves could not have saved ourselves. No matter how many good things we do, no matter how esteemed we are, no matter how well behaved our children are, it means nothing when lined up to the gospel. God’s strength was demonstrated in our helplessness. It reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes when the author makes the realization that all the good, he has done and all he has is vanity. It all means nothing when compared to the beauty of Christ.
The gospel is what we must cling to in these moments. It is what we must preach to ourselves in these moments. I am not talking about literally standing up with a bible in our hand saying “Courtney open up to …” I mean that we must dwell in the Scriptures and remind ourselves of the hope and promises that are found in him. We must cling to the scriptures and remind ourselves that God tells us to “Cast all your anxieties on me because I care for you (1 Pet. 5:7).” When we turn our eyes to Jesus, we can be reminded that we are a redeemed people and Jesus came to die and save us from our sins.
When I read the book of Philippians, I am reminded of who wrote the book. Paul wrote this to the church of Philippi while he was in prison. Conviction is what I typically feel when I read the words on the pages of Philippians. This man was in chains and was telling his brothers and sisters to not complain or grumble, but to be a light to all those around them in this dark and sinful world. He strives to remind them not to do things in vain, but instead look ahead for the moment in time when God will say “well done my good and faithful servant.”
Paul was probably preaching these words to himself as well. I think we could all agree he clung to the gospel in these times of despair. Can we say that we do the same? Paul could have joy in the darkness because He was a child of the light. Paul could have hope in the brokenness, because he had been restored. Paul could have courage in the battle, because he knew he was already victorious.
I want to encourage you no matter what craziness is going in your life, look to the cross and find the promises and truth that are found in Jesus, because Jesus is better than anything this world can offer us to provide us.
Soli Deo Gloria
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