This week’s Memory Verse highlights an old problem, so it is an old favorite. Of all the verses we have learned in the past five years, I think I am most likely to remind the kids of this one:
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. Phil 2:14-1
Complaining. I think complaining is more the American pastime, than baseball. I must confess that I do fall into the habit of complaining from time to time‘¦and it is like falling in a ditch ‘“ the slope is slippery, and before you know it you are down in it, and stuck. I did a word study on complaining a few years back, pouring over all the passages where the Israelites were complaining and grumbling in the desert…and I was really convicted that there was no good reason, not ever, to complain.
Complaining destroys our Christian witness. God is very explicit in His instructions. He doesn’t condone complaining if you are just “venting” to a friend, or if someone “really gets on your nerves”, or you have a “justifiable complaint”. Rather He says, “do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Phi 2:14-15). Here God is pretty clear that not complaining will distinguish us from others as belonging to Him. When we complain, we are just like anyone else who is consumed by the way of the World.
Complaining against other people, or a situation, is really complaining against God and His plan, which puts us at odds with God. “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘˜What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘˜he has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9).
Complaining interferes with our fellowship with God: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘˜They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’(Hebrews 3:7-10).
Complaining steals our joy and peace ‘“ this is guaranteed by God Himself: For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned,whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? (Heb 3:16-18). Jesus died on the cross to provide us access to the Promised Land in two forms: (1) when this life ends, we will enter Heaven and (2) in this life He will give us peace and rest, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). Because of Jesus we are able to rest. Complaining prevents us from entering His rest because of our disobedience, as God promised.
Complaining is a habit and complaining is a sin. We have less offensive names for it: “venting”, “getting it off your chest”, “whining”, “bellyaching”, “kvetching”‘¦but sin is separation from God,which is no small thing. So when we begin to complain, we must remember we are choosing separation from God. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
Complaining as a sin, gives the devil an opportunity, or a foothold (Eph 4:27). All sin prevents us from living out our purpose, which is to glorify God. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Rom 6:16).
Complaining often leads us to more sin ‘“ anger, grudges, gossip, envy, malice (by giving the devil a foothold). How many of us would willingly invite the devil into our hearts with the same breath, that we un-invite Jesus from that place? At the first complaint, this is what we are doing. But just as quickly, we can turn it around (isn’t God wonderful?): Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Tell me, do you find yourself most often speaking gratitude or complaints? The antidote for complaining is gratitude – so, in the comments, you can also tell me what you have to be thankful about today!
Britta ~ I am justAgirl…just like you!