“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation” Then you will shine among them likes stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:12-16 NIV)
Did you ever think about the phrase–“when the cat is away the mice will play” and what it means? In this analogy, the cat is the authority and the mice the subservient to the cat. So, while the cat is in their presence, they do what they must do–play hide and seek to keep from being destroyed. When the cat is away–the mice roam freely and are totally unconcerned about being caught.
Some people honor the authority in their lives only when the authority is present–right there–can’t be missed. Employees will do their jobs while the boss is in their office, but if the boss is out of the office, many can hear a collective sigh of relief and most get lazy and lounge–doing absolutely nothing.
When teachers are out of their classrooms for a day or days–a substitute teacher can count on not getting anything done because the students have determined–the teacher isn’t here and we don’t have to do any work–even if work was left for them to do. I’ve heard all the stories–“the sub lost it; I didn’t know we had to turn it in, the sub didn’t give us any work, I took it home and forgot to bring it back.” Students make up so many excuses for not doing work that they could have saved themselves some time by simply doing the work.
Paul understood that when he was around, the people honored his presence and he’s commending them on doing so and encouraging them to keep on doing the right thing–whether he’s there or not. And that is what all Believers should be doing, right now. Living like we know (because it’s true) that God is present–in our midst at all times–and we should do the right thing at all times.
I know many won’t understand this because they’re thinking on a carnal level. “I can’t be good all the time.” Yes, we can. When we know God’s Word and have a relationship with Him, we can be good all the time. The thing that keeps us from being good is our flesh–when we give in to temptation to fit in with others who don’t know Him. I’m guilty–not intentionally, but guilty nonetheless. Sometimes, my flesh overrides my spirit and I’m immediately impressed by Holy Spirit that I need to repent for the things I allow to escape through my lips. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit” I hear every time I mess up. The bottom line is–I’m more careful to not mess up, but when I do, He reminds me–He’s right there and hears everything I say and sees everything I do.
The biggest problem for Believers is when they tend to act like God can’t see or is deaf. He’s always in the midst of everything we do and yes–He can see and hear it all. Now, we have a decision to make–to honor Him at all times, recognizing His presence or to act like He’s only around in church on Sundays. It’s our choice, and the world needs us to make it right now–for our time on this side of eternity is almost over and we have many souls to introduce to Jesus before He returns. Let’s do all things as unto The Lord, desiring to please Him only!