Being a saved sinner, and having spent my formative years in New York, I’d have to say at points in my life my grumble-per-minute rate was excessively high. How many opportunities do we have each day to see or experience something that makes us grumble or argue? What’s the goal of grumbling and arguing? A release? A validation of a slight against us?
I tell you now the only validation we need was given to us on the cross by Jesus Christ.
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.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.Philippians 2:12-16
Between my Monday bible study, my Wednesday bible study, and a service I attended in VR last night… I think God has been hammering this one into my heart because even to this day – despite being aware of it now – my desire to grumble can quickly overpower my ability to NOT grumble. I won’t lie, grumbling, complaining, arguing at times can feel GOOD.
It’s not like I do not have a valid reason to complain, right? Some people… That driver… I’M OUT OF HALF & HALF… My credit card is maxed out… My rent is going to be late… My car won’t start… The roof is leaking… I am ill… My job…
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”Genesis 3:1
All are seemingly valid reasons to complain and lose sight of the goal of our lives to glorify and worship God, to allow ourselves to forget the promise of Christ… These grumblings do not come from God! To overlook the infinite grace and mercy that has been applied to our lives… We can completely miss every single opportunity to rise above our propensity to sin, to overcome our very human nature through Christ!
Realize that in our day to day words and deeds, our brothers and sisters be they believers or non-believers will see those words and deeds, not only will they judge our actions but they will judge God on our behalf. I’ve heard it said many a time that you or I may be the only Bible another person may look at on their lives. When we lose our cool, grumble, and argue they will not only convict us but convict God and further turn away from salvation!
I will fully admit that at times I am a horrible example of a Christian. Despite how good a day is going, how good my life is comparatively speaking to others, or even when I am at my lowest and the chewing, swarming, and crawling locusts have come to devour the hope and joy from my heart – I am a flawed sinner and God forgive me I let sometimes them without fighting back!
2 Hear this, you elders,
And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!
Has anything like this happened in your days,
Or even in the days of your fathers?
3 Tell your children about it,
Let your children tell their children,
And their children another generation.
4 What the chewing [a]locust left, the swarming locust has eaten;Joel 1:1-4
What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten;
And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.
What can I do? When I/we overreact to the stresses of life and finally snap we get that fleeting moment of self-righteous release and afterwards where are we? Whose face do we see? Where has God gone? The answer is we see OUR face. God has not gone anywhere, but we have turned from Him! Not only after we lose our way but when we see and feel that loss of control coming we need to collect our thoughts, turn to God and cry out to Him!
Consecrate a fast,Joel 1:14
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
Into the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord.
The solution is always right there before our hearts and minds, the solution is Jesus Christ! Cry out to him! We do not have to grumble or argue. God gave us grace and mercy we do not deserve and every single day we have opportunities to use that grace and mercy to glorify Him and we ignore it! I ignore it! Thank God we have God, for where else can we turn to escape the pit of despair we allow ourselves to occupy?
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.Ephesians 1:3-6
Pray for His wisdom. Pray for His courage. Pray for His grace. Pray for His righteousness. Pray for His peace. He is our only defense against the forces in our lives which work constantly to turn us away from Him. He gave us minds to think, hearts to love, and souls to glorify Him. What more do we possibly need? Turn to Him in these moments and find peace.
It may not come easily, but it will come. Focus on God first, and He will provide for us what is right and just. It may not always be what we want, but it will be what we need. Turn to God in our trials. Turn to God in our triumphs. Praise Him and thank Him for every blessing, and seek His face for even in our darkest days there are blessings, we just need to open our eyes and hearts to see them.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your [f]understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21 far above all principality[g] and [h]power and [i]might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.Ephesians 1:15-23
Do not grumble. Do not argue. Count your blessings and be thankful to He who has blessed you. Turn to Him at every opportunity and realize He is right there with you, always.
Hallelujah, and amen.