I’d like to just touch on the simple topic of complaining and disputing. In my opinion, our society is just a breeding ground for this type of attitude and behavior. Thailer and I occasionally have to quote to each other Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”
As Christians, we need to shine as lights in the world. The rest of that verse is even more applicable:
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as blights in the world, 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.14-16
The world “reads” Christians and consequently draws a conclusion about Christ and the church. I’ve known many who proclaim to be Christians (myself included through the years) who seem to give no thought to the words they speak, the attitude they portray or the complaints they share. We are to be children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We are not to be comparable to that crooked and perverse generation. Christianity is about developing self-control and a love that submits to God’s will rather than giving into our natural desires.
In my own experience, there have been generally two reasons for indulging in this behavior. First, was before I ever even learned of verses like these. Even after I was baptized, it took a long time for things to click, for me to discover verses, for me to hear sermons on __, etc. In a way, I’m hoping these notes may be a tool for someone else who perhaps hasn’t come to that point on their spiritual road of growth yet. Even now, though I have a decent foundation of knowledge on right and wrong as according to the Bible, my perspectives are developing and changing so often. Christians should never find themselves in a state of contentment when it comes to their spiritual growth. We need to constantly be pushing forward, praying, studying and growing.
Anyway, even since I learned that we shouldn’t be grumblers, I’ve given into that temptation at times. I’ve found that it’s usually either because I’ve been slacking in my diligence, my convictions have waned or I’m just having an overwhelmingly difficult day. More often than not, it’s because of the former- which is a dangerous place to be. Our actions speak multitudes about our spiritual walk, so we need to be mindful of others, careful to not become a stumbling block and careful to set forth an encouraging example. When we become Christians, we begin a process of becoming selfless, of becoming Christ-like.
I’d like to conclude this simple note with several verses that I hope will stick with us each day and in each trying situation.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are…. hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” 1 Cor 3:1-4
Again, our behavior tells others where we are in our walk. We need to grow; we are neglecting our responsibility if we stay babes in Christ. This world is not our home.
What is our mindset when we complain or murmur or grumble? Are we content? Satisfied? Happy? Though we shouldn’t be content with our spiritual state, we must be content with our place in life. Our minds need to be set on things above, not on the successes of this world.
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians 3:2
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” –1 Timothy 6:6-7
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” – Philippians 4:11-12
Being content and joyful reflects our trust and joy in Christ.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” – Col. 2:6-7
How can we walk in Him, be rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith when we abandon thanksgiving and indulge in complaining and disputing? If you are a Christian, you are a Christian no matter where you are, no matter what time of day it is. If you’re at work, if you’re around worldly people, if everyone around you is gossiping and complaining and cursing, if you’re around family or friends or if you’re driving, shopping..no matter where you are, you are a member of the body of Christ and you need to act as such. We will only obtain the prize of heaven if we overcome and we can only have an influence on those outside the body if we “practice what we preach” so to speak.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.“- Col. 3:12-13
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
Hopefully someone else can add some helpful comments. :) I just wanted to type something short and sweet, but it is a very interesting topic to discuss and study.