"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain."
Shining like stars in the midst of a broken, tarnished world. Unfortunately, I do not think that is an accurate description of many Christians in America today. It certainly is not true as regards the popular image of Christians in society. We seem rather to be viewed as judgmental, superior, lacking compassion, self-interested, and small-minded. In one way, this is a very unfair characterization, as I know so many faithful Christians who do not in any way match such a description. But there are enough who do fit the description (and not surprisingly, they are often quite vocal) to compel me to feel that the stereotype is justified. So, how do we change this, and become those who shine like stars in the world?
The answer, I believe, lies in the same passage above. It is not found in wielding the sword of righteousness and club of truth as a bold culture warrior. It is found in great humility, great dependence upon God, great charity, generosity of spirit, and above all else, holding fast to the word of life.
Peace of Christ.