One of my favorite lighting events is Fourth of July fireworks. But if you wait till the fireworks subside, you'll see what's left in the sky: the stars. They've been glowing up there long before the fireworks went off, and they'll be glowing up there for a long time into the future.
You and I are called to glow and be light bearers in the world (see Matthew 5:16). In Philippians 2:14-16, the apostle Paul gave a threefold strategy for how we can glow in the dark:
1. Understand the condition of the world. Paul described it as "a crooked and perverse generation" (v. 15). The world is morally contorted, spiritually deformed, and unable to support the weight of life. That shouldn't surprise you. But if you're going to glow, you need to view the world like Jesus. He looked at a crowd and was moved with compassion because He saw them for who they were: eternal souls who, if left in spiritual darkness, would see eternal consequences (see Matthew 9:36).
2. Understand your position in this world: "Among [them] you shine as lights"—or stars—"in the world" (v. 15). Because the world is so dark and contorted, the conditions for us to shine have never been better. But to be effective, we have to be around people who are in darkness. If all we do is shine among other believers, we're not doing a lot of good. We need to reflect the Son and be winsome and warm while speaking truth and showing people the way out of darkness.
3. Understand your vocation to the world. You're called to glow in two ways: you need the right attitude and the right action. The right attitude is found in verse 14: "Do all things without complaining and disputing." Do you think a grumbling believer is effective in bringing people out of darkness? No way. Complaining implies that God doesn't treat His kids very well, so why would an unbeliever want to follow Christ? A Christian with a bad attitude is bad advertising for the kingdom.
Then there's the right action: "Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain" (v. 16). Some translations say, "holding forth the word of life." Don't just hold fast to the gospel—hold it forth and tell others the message. That's how we glow in the dark: by amplifying with our lips what we exemplify in our lives (see Romans 10:14).
So let's get in the game. Let's leave the place where we're all shining so brightly and go glow in the dark, lest the darkness overshadow our glow.