Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-...Philippians 2:14-16a
Here is another contrast that enhances the truth: Blameless and pure contrasted with crooked and depraved. The Lord wants us (His called and chosen ones) to be sanctified, holy, set apart unto Him. To be distinctly His, different from the world around us. The stars that shine in the universe oppose and overcome the darkness. They are created and empowered by the Lord. That is His desire for us. His Spirit within us makes us able to be blameless and pure and shine for Him. (See 2 Corinthians chapter 4)
As I studied this for youth group tonight, and I was also meditating on Hebrews 2:18 which says (about Jesus) Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Jesus suffered himself in saying no to the things of this world. Choosing to do the will of the Father instead of doing the popular things. He was strained in His humanity just as we are. He suffered being despised and rejected, denying himself in all areas of lust or gluttony. This gives me the desire to walk uprightly and obediently and to overcome my aversion to suffering. Help me Lord to be willing to suffer when you call me to.
He must not have given thought to His pain, He must have seen it as an offering pleasing to His Father. And had that joy that James tells us to have in all kinds of trials. What wondrous love is this!! That He left His perfect home in heaven to be identified with the likes of me...of all of humanity. He chose suffering. Selah. Oh that all would open their hearts to this love, recieve this gift of eternity in exchange for the temporary life here on earth.
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfiet his very self?
Father, help me to have a heart to surrender all, to endure the cross you have called me to carry. Some days, because I live here in the USA, my cross is barely noticable, but other days it is quite heavy. Thank you for always being here with me. For enabling me to carry whatever you call me to. Please be with my brothers and sisters in hostile nations as they carry crosses we cannot even begin to imagine. Hold them. Thank you that their reward will be great in heaven. Help us to keep our eyes on you, our prize.