We can grumble, grumble (see previous devotions) or twinkle, twinkle, but we can’t do both! Twinkling as bright stars in a dark night sky is to hold “fast to the word of Life” as Paul puts it in 02 babysPhilippians 2:16. The mention in the previous verse of being bright shining stars in a dark sky comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel 12:3. It describes the coming age of the Kingdom of God, ruled by God’s anointed. It will be the abode of all who will “shine like the brightness in the sky above” and who “will turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Hughes comments, “Thus Christians who live in humble harmony as they should, considering others more important than themselves, shine resurrection light in a dark world, especially as they are ‘holding fast to the word of life,’ the gospel of Christ.”

Bright stars, holding fast the good news about Jesus, shine for all to see. There are some who think that they can shine forth a good news gospel to believers but shun the unbelieving community and choose not only not to be of the world but also not to even be in the world. On the other hand there are those who want to shine bright among those in the unbelieving world but relate to their brothers and sisters in Christ with indifference or even negative and critical grumbling spirits. But stars in the night, like the sunshine and the rains from heaven, shine on the just and the unjust. God shines his love on the righteous and the unrighteous. The light of the good news of Jesus should shine forth from every believer to everyone. If it shines at all, it shines on all!

I know those who have convinced themselves that a critical, negative spirit is a virtue. Putting themselves in the place of God’s divine bull dogs charged with protecting the sacredness of the assembly, they frown at and hold disdain for the joy expressed by others. They think that their negativity will be good for the church and make others tow their own particular line of righteousness. It’s a form of spiritual manipulation and psychological blackmail. And it’s a sin. Paul says, (as Hughes quotes in his commentary), “…such conduct impedes the working out of salvation in the church. In fact, it can ruin one’s own soul or the soul of another in the church. It can make the church the cultural joke of ‘a crooked and twisted generation.’” This is why Paul admonished the Philippians and he admonishes us to “work out our salvation” with “fear and trembling.” We can either be the grumbling kill joys like the religious leaders in Christ’s day, or we can be the twinkling stars of joy shining with the good news of Jesus Christ!