Philippians 2:14-15 New International Version (NIV)
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”
How many times have you told your child to do something and they argue with you about all the reasons they don’t want to? Or how about how many times you make a snarky comment under your breath in response to something your spouse or your boss or a friend says? It’s so easy to get mad at the child, and then blow off our own grumbling as justifiable considering the circumstances. But this verse says do EVERYTHING without grumbling or arguing. And then it goes on to tell us why: so that we may become blameless and pure children of God.
But the concept in verse 14 goes against our human nature. And God knew that it did, I think that’s why there are so many verses about grumbling – a quick Bible Gateway search for “grumble” brings up 28 verses!
It’s easy to blame our grumbling, complaining and arguing on our circumstances; it’s easy to justify our responses in light of our experiences. What if, instead, we viewed them as our response to God himself? Would that be a wake-up call? Would that change our behavior?
We read the stories of the Israelites and learn about all the things that God had saved them from, yet here they are complaining about the way they received salvation from slavery in the same way they complained when they were enslaved. Their complaining wasn’t just a situational response, it was a heart response. They were thankless. And I’m afraid we fit that bill too – I know I do way too often.
A very common ailment is “spiritual amnesia.” We forget what Jesus’ blood has saved us from just like the Israelites so quickly forgot about their rescue. We forget our blessings, or we take credit for them as if we alone are responsible. We lean on God as a last resort – rather than our rock and our first and only hope. We focus on the negative – we talk about it, post about it, dwell on it – rather than rejoicing in and proclaiming our victory in Jesus. We view the world through the lens of our own personal problems instead of viewing our problems through the eyes of the Creator of the universe.
So here’s a challenge – set a goal for yourself to go an hour without grumbling or arguing or complaining. If you’re successful, go for another hour! If you fail, try again! The only cure for spiritual amnesia is to spend more time focusing on God’s word and dwelling on His promises.