She shines like stars

by MEREDITH DONKIN

Before I headed off into my day today, I sat down with my journaling bible and flipped it open to this:

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” Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’  then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”
Philippians 2: 14-16

“In a warped and crooked generation”.…my work at the moment with women and children fleeing domestic violence highlights the warped and the crooked.  To read this passage this morning in a text which was written in 62 A.D. reminds me that is has always been thus.  A reminder that the brokenness in our world isn’t transient and best I dig in.  But how?

I think the key lies in the last sentence:  “hold firmly to the word of life”.

Bible-dust-read-me

You know the joke that the bible is actually an acronym for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth?  Maybe it’s not such a joke.  Perhaps if we treated it like a search engine for wise guidance through life’s travails, there would be a lot less angst and a whole lot  more peace and progress.  So to shine, I need to hold firm to the bible.  Through reading, studying, journaling and fellowship.

When you read the whole passage above,  you see that it starts with “do everything without grumbling and arguing”.  Well, that’s inconvenient.  Everything?  Without grumbling?  For reals? That’s a tall order for me.  I love nothing more than a bit of a grumble with a side order of resentment.  What this requires of me is humility.  Putting my own need for validation aside and behaving graciously in all circumstances.

Have you noticed how often the bible refers to humility?  I’m assuming it’s important.  I wrote “HUMBLE” in large letters in the margin of the journal.  It sounds oxymoronic I know.  Be humble so you can shine.  To do everything without grumbling means that I have to shine through genuine servanthood…not martyrdom.  Not even any Facebook “humble bragging”.  No one wants to hear about how busy you are being a blessing to others in this “crooked and warped generation”.  Be humble, don’t grumble, don’t argue….embrace the task set before you.  Sometimes the task set before you will be to bite your tongue when you’d much rather serve up a few choice words.

I love what Doug Britton has written here about the meaning of humility in the bible:

Many people have the wrong idea about God, the Bible and humility. They think being humble means groveling in front of others or thinking we’re no good and others are better.

 That’s not what the bible says. God says when you are humble, you are free from pride and arrogance. You know that in your flesh you are inadequate, yet you also know who you are in Christ.

You don’t need to defend yourself when you understand what the Bible says about humility, for you know who you are in Christ. You can be a peacemaker without needing to fight for your rights. You can walk humbly in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in your own strength.

Godly humility is being comfortable with who you are in the Lord and therefore putting others first. The picture of humility in the Bible is one of a strong person who loves others, not someone who is a wimp.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Humility also is recognizing that you need God’s help, knowing you can’t truly succeed in your own strength. It is thanking God for your talents and gifts, and giving him credit for your accomplishments.”

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So we’ve chatted about humility, how exactly does this help us to shine like the stars?   What does it look and feel like?  How do we know if we are getting it right?  Following are the notes from the margin in my bible regarding the biblical manifestation of shine.  These notes were taken from a sermon {this is why I recommend taking your journaling bible to church}

SHINE:   the soul of a woman fulfilled

SHINE:  a reflection of Jesus.

SHINE:  be a light to my family and the world around me

SHINE:  so that I may bless others

SHINE:  to bring joy and encouragement

SHINE:  to fulfil God’s purpose in my life

As usual, C.S. Lewis has captured all of the above perfectly:

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Shine on and Live Brave, sister!

Meredith xo

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