That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.—Philippians 1:10–11
In ancient Rome, fine pottery was relatively thin and fragile and often would develop cracks after firing. Rather than remake the piece, unscrupulous shops would fill the cracks with hard, dark wax and then sell it as new.
So you would take your purchase home and put it outside, and in the blazing Mediterranean sun, parts of it would start to melt. Then you would take that pottery back to the shopkeeper and say, “What have you done? This isn’t right. I want one without wax.”
That is what Paul meant when he prayed that the believers in Philippi would be “sincere and without offense.” Sincere is sometimes translated “without wax.” So Paul was essentially saying, “Move forward in your life without moral failure.” He wrote in 1 Corinthians 10, “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (verses 32–33). Another way to translate that is, “Don’t give an unbeliever a reason to not believe.”
Jesus saved his most scathing words not for struggling sinners but for hypocritical believers, those who appeared to be one thing but really were another.
So let’s make sure we are not people who bring reproach to the name of Jesus Christ. Each of us has a sphere of influence. Each of us has a group of people who are watching us carefully. They are scrutinizing every word and hoping we will mess up. When you walk with God, live a godly life, and do what He wants you to do, it drives some of them crazy. And so it should. It is the power of a good testimony.
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Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.