Are you a grumbler, fusser, complainer, pessimist, general cranky pants? I really didn’t think that I was. Truly, I’m the eternal optimist around here. I always expect something good to happen, or expect the best of people. I’m one of those people who can see the mudslides that occur in life and I celebrate the pretty flower that is sliding atop the muck. Yep, I try to be the happy girl. Try is the key word! Unless I haven’t had my coffee…then all bets are off. Yep. Coffee before talkie no workie for this girl. Back to where I was going. Grumbling and complaining. People who complain all the time make me absolutely crazy. Do you know one of those people? You just want to “Gibbs smack ’em” on the back of the head and tell them to get over it! Yes, I am an NCIS geek. Well, in Philippians 2:14 God directly addresses those who grumble and complain. He doesn’t beat around the bush either. He comes straight out and says, “Do all thing without complaining and disputing.” Disputing…arguing, disagreeing, clashing, are all synonyms. In my book it means quit your fussin’ and griping’! How often do we say that in our lives? Here God has to say it. Consider all He has done, and still has to say this. He has freed the Israelites from in Egypt. He poured out plagues on Pharaoh while in everyone still still in captivity. Miracles! Then, he has manifested Himself in the form of a pillar or smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night in order to the lead the people. Miracle! He has provided them with manna…food falling from heaven! Miracle! He parted the Red Sea. Miracle! He sent His son Jesus to this earth TO DIE FOR US! What does He get in return? Grumbling and complaining.
What does God do today for us? He saves us from the car wreck that occurs right where we would have been had that slow car in front of us moved faster. Miracle! He provides the money for something you desperately needed to pay for when you thought it wasn’t possible. Miracle! He takes care of a situation you could see no way out of other than through God. Miracle! Just stop to think about all that has happened in your life that couldn’t have happened on it’s own. You know…the things anyone else might consider to be a coincidence, or good juju. If you’re a believer my friend, you need to see that was God! If you’re not a believer my friend, I urge you to look around and see all of the blessings in your life. Then, realize that none of that would happen without our almighty God in control.
Let’s look at what comes after quit complaining in scripture. Philippians 2:15-16 “…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you may shine as lights 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.” Paul is writing this passage for us. Remember something here all you grumblers and complainers. Paul is writing this passage for us, inspired directly by God, while in prison! Yep! He’s not in happy clappy circumstance here. He’s not praising God in the midst of the sunshine on a beautiful fall day as a gentle breeze blows. Nope! The man is in prison for declaring Christ as the savior of the world…and he’s still preaching the gospel…without complaining! So what’s all of this really saying?
When we quit complaining and grumbling, we can become blameless (innocent) children of God. We hold fast to God, His commands, and do what He has commanded we do; we become His innocent children even in the midst of a fallen world. God tells us to hold onto His word…the word of life! Hold it close y’all! Hug it, love it, pet it, call it your own. It’s God’s love letter to you! Then, live by it. He calls us to be lights in the world as we live by His word. When we do that, others will see the beauty of God through us. In turn, God rejoices at watching His children live for Him, in Him and through Him in darkness of this fallen world…and He rejoices because He has not labored in vain. Ever get frustrated and generally ticked off when you work to do something nice for someone and they never acknowledge you? What about when you’ve done all of that work and they start griping that it’s not right, or it’s not what they wanted? Now, consider all that God has done for you. All He continues to do for you each and every day. Is it a wonder He tells us to put on our big girl panties and deal?
While we live in a fallen world, there is no reason we can’t do our best to appreciate all God has done for us. There is no reason we can’t be a bright spot in a dark place. If all of us, as children of God, would start to shine where we are without complaining, what a bright place this world might become.