“Do all things without grumbling or disputing”
Recently, the Lord has been convicting me about how seriously He takes the sin of complaining. In spite of the magnitude of this sin, the sad truth is that the tendency to grumble and complain is so deeply embedded in my stubborn heart that I often overlook the gravity of what I’m doing. Praise the Lord that His grace is so great even when my gratitude is so small. Although it’s taking me far too long to become a person whose heart overflows with gratitude and contentment instead of the opposite qualities, God continues to work patiently on my soul, providing me with reminders of just how much I have to thank Him for and giving me ongoing opportunities to reflect Christ in this area.
One of the people that God has used frequently in my life to model true Christian contentment is Joni Eareckson Tada. In the following video and teaching, Joni shows us that regardless of our suffering, Christians simply don’t have any reason to grumble…
I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and lately, I’ve been hearing some complaining.
…Not so much from unbelievers either—we already know that the world does its share of complaining, right? No, I’m talking about Christians, my brothers and sisters in Jesus. You know how it is, we come out of church on Sunday morning picking apart the sermon, griping about the music, grumbling about the stiff chairs. What is it? Maybe we’ve been infected by this culture of comfort around us; perhaps we’ve just slid into the same habit as that of unbelievers around us. Whatever, we’ve become a group of grumblers, and we don’t even realize it.
Worse yet, we don’t realize the incredible consequences. I mean, just listen to the book of Jude; starting with the 16th verse, it says, “…See, the Lord is coming…to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. (Now after that lead-up, get this, it says) These men (that is the ungodly) are grumblers and faultfinders.”
Isn’t that incredible, the word “ungodly” is used four (count them, four times) to describe, not murderers, adulterers and thieves, but grumblers, faultfinders, complainers.
The Bible has a way of cutting through the mustard and slicing right through to our pride. We don’t say of ourselves, “I’m ungodly,” but we are, if we make a habit of grumbling, complaining, and finding fault. It’s serious business, this thing about being crabby. How serious? Just listen to what Paul writes in Philippians 2:14-16. He starts off, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing…Then on the day when Christ returns, I can take pride in you. I can also know that my work and efforts were not useless.” In another translation, Paul says, “then I will be able to boast that I did not run or labor in vain.”
Do you get what he’s saying? After all the work Paul had done to build up the Philippians in their faith, if, at the bottom-line, they were found to be grumbling or arguing, then Paul’s work was completely in vain, completely useless.
I remember once on a trip being with a traveling companion and, I tell you, nothing—I mean nothing—could please her. She didn’t like the hotel, didn’t like the food, didn’t like the hour she had to get up, didn’t like the weather, the extra meeting squeezed into the schedule. She had started off fine and all focused on this being a ministry trip. What she didn’t realize is that God looked at her service as a waste of time, nothing of eternal merit. Why? Because of her complaining, and finding fault.
Friend, maybe I’m speaking to you today, and if so, agree with me to put the complaining behind you. Life is too short; God’s blessings are too precious; His grace is too available; and there’s just no room for grumbling.
["Dangers of Complaining," emphasis added]