Reason for Obedience

Reason for Obedience

Do all things without grumbling or disputing.
–Philippians 2:14

In Philippians 2:14, Paul said, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Now, that’s convicting, isn’t it? Grumbling isn’t an outward, loud complaint. Instead, it’s that under-the-breath murmuring you do at your job, in traffic, or in church. Make no mistake about it: God hates grumbling.

Why does God hate grumbling so much? One reason is that grumbling is a sign of ingratitude toward God. In Exodus 16:8, Moses said to the Israelites, “Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.” When you complain, you are really saying, “God, You don’t know what You’re doing. I could do a lot better job if I were in charge.” Another reason God judges grumbling is that it robs other Christians of their joy when they listen to your complaints. Grumbling spreads like a disease. When Paul said, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” he was talking about your job. He was talking about your homework. He was talking about your chores. He was even talking about your ministry in church. What is the benefit of doing all things without grumbling? Paul said in Philippians 2:15-16, “So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.” The reason God wants us to live obediently is so we can stand out in this dark world that has lost its thirst for God.

You may remember the children’s song, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” That song is cute, but it’s misleading. The word in verse 15, “lights,” is not a little light. It literally means “luminary.” God wants our witness for Christ to be a big, shining light–like a star or a planet–not to illuminate ourselves, but to illuminate God. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” That’s what happens when we live obediently. When we live a distinctive life, it causes God to be glorified.

Notice the phrase in Philippians 2:16: “holding fast the word of life.” The word of life is God’s Word. We are to hold out God’s Word while we are living an obedient life. Have you ever heard people say, “Witnessing is just not my thing. I lead people to Christ by the way I live”? No, it is not living a good life alone that points somebody to Christ. It has to be that combined with the truth of God’s Word. Every Christian ought to know how to lead somebody to Christ. In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter said, “Always [be] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” We combine our obedience with the truth of God’s Word. We appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life. The reason for our obedience is to lead people to Christ.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Godly Living in a Godless World” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.