The following question will challenge even the most mature and spiritually filled believer. “Do you grumble and complain?”
Complaints are included in acceptable social conversations. They are objections, even acts of protest. Voicing anger, fears, dissatisfaction, annoyance, and irritation will certainly get a conversation rolling. But will the topic of disapproval be edifying and pleasing to God?
Take a minute and consider why we complain. Are we looking for the empathy of others? Are we making excuses for our behavior? Is it due to some selfish motive, or is it an act of self-righteousness? Has self-pity consumed our thoughts and voicing our anger brings relief? Is it a passive-aggressive way to let God know we are mad at Him? By complaining, have we judged God by blaming Him for our discomfort?
Or, are we seeking justice for bona fide mistreatment and abuse? Should injustices be left unrecognized? Are we not called to carry each other’s burdens? Do we not have a responsibility to stand up for the weak and defend those in need?
Making a petition for help is different from grumbling and complaining. In the midst of a trial we should call upon God’s grace. However, circumstances are permitted, created, and ordained by a sovereign God who has orchestrated them for our welfare. To complain about our situation is to argue against God’s will and plan. Asking for strength to move through a trial is acceptable but complaining about our loss, pain, or struggle is not beneficial for us or honoring to God.
God can handle our honesty and He knows our feelings before we are completely aware of them our self. He lives to intercede on our behalf, and the refining processes that trials generate often require the supernatural strengthening of God. Asking for help is an act of humility and will draw us closer to God. Complaining does not draw us closer to God, nor will it build intimacy with Him. In fact, complaining kindles His anger.
“And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. “ Numbers 11:1 (NKJV)
Philippians 2:14-15 commands us to DO ALL THINGS without complaining. In a world filled with wicked and perverse men, making a point to remain positive will get attention. We are called to shine as lights in this fallen world. Praising God and His provision at all times, especially while we are persevering though trials, will cause others to rethink their ways. This positive and thankful thinking will require self-control and discipline. Breaking the habit of grumbling will not be easy, especially if it has been long practiced. But with the grace of God it can be mastered.
“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 lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15 (NKJV)
We are called to do ALL THINGS without complaining. This includes our acts of labor and employment, the “Honey-Do List,” car pools, time with relatives, and even mundane and repetitious days filled with simple but necessary duties and tasks. For every day in our life has been planned out by God, days of sorrow, excitement, joy, adventure and seemingly uneventful days. Each and every day is a gift and should be filled with thanks and praise.
So, we are to DO all things without complaining, but what about daily conversations? Is it all right to complain about the food in a restaurant? How about the driver on the highway who just cut you off? Surely it is okay to complain about the snow in April or the lack of rain in August. Weather has long been considered a safe topic of discussion in every day “small talk.” Many of us will make note of a beautiful sunrise, the blue sky or lovely clouds. But we are also quick to complain about weather. Are we sinning when we voice complaints about something so common as weather?
Ask this question, “Does my complaint glorify God?” You have your answer! We are to edify others with words of encouragement and hope.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.“ Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)
Apparently mankind has never been satisfied. Just think about Adam and Eve! Even in paradise they were not content. Is it then fair to say that human nature is never content? Yes. The constant clash between fleshly desires and spiritual contentment is a battle fought every day.
The poor want to be rich, but wealth is not the answer. A rich man also seeks more and complains as much as any other man. The single woman wants to be married and the married woman wishes she were once again single. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But if we watered our side of the grass… it would be just as green as the one on the other side.
Paul tells us how to battle our urge to grumble and complain. Seeking contentment in every circumstance is the secret. This requires God’s help and we must call upon His strength to find this peace and joy.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)
May we strive to consider our daily conversations, seeking to edify others and glorify God. Desiring contentment, we lean on the love of God and trust in His provisions. We ask the Holy Spirit to prick our spirit every time we are tempted to grumble and complain. We choose to praise God for EVERYTHING, including the circumstances we now face. We cast all of our cares upon Christ Jesus and thank Him for each thing in our life.
“It is no use to grumble and complain; It’s just as cheap and easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain- Why rain’s my choice.” ~ James Whitcomb Riley
“If Christians spent as much time praying as they do grumbling, they would soon have nothing to grumble about.” – Anonymous