Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why is Complaining so Bad?

Philippians 2 is probably one of most well known texts in all of Scripture when it comes to the humility of Christ. We see a clear walk through of Christ's humility in leaving the glories of heaven to take the form of humanity for the sake of saving sinners through his death on a cross. He is now clearly living and seated at the right hand of the Father. Christ is the perfect picture of humility but better yet he is the living God reigning on his throne. Paul then talks about working out our salvation with fear and tembling all the while knowing it is God who is at work in our lives both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Then Paul writes, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life" (Phil. 2:14-16).

At first glance we might assume Paul is telling Christians that we are to "do all things without grumbling or disputing" but that cannot be right. Right? The New King James says, "All things without complaining or disputing." No complaining? As I have reflected on my attitude throughout many days I have noticed an attitude of complaining. Maybe it is not visible to others at all times but in my heart there is grumbling taking place. Paul says this ought not to be in the life of a believer. Why? So we may be testimonies to a "crooked and twisted generation." Our purpose for being so radically different is we may be lights in the world. The world sadly thinks nothing about complaining or questioning but God has called us to a totally different standard. He has called us to holiness. We are to be set apart from the world in our actions and attitudes.

The good news about this radical calling is he does not leave us to ourselves. We are given the power to not be mastered by sin. This is God's power working in our lives. If you struggle with complaining or disputing confess that sin to God and turn away from it. Ask him for the grace and the power to change. Do not just shrug it off as no big deal. Sin against a holy God is always a big deal! What seems like a little, inconsequential complaint is a defiant yell at God that he is not good and is plan is not perfect. This is when we ought to remember the price paid for sin at Calvary. The Lord is gracious to forgive and merciful to those who come broken asking for his grace to change.

Grace upon grace,

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