So, if Paul can ask us to do everything without complaining or arguing from his JAIL CELL, I suppose I have no right to um, complain. 🙂
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” Philippians 2:14-16
So, I’ve had my kids memorize this verse, we’ve talked about it, yet, in my own life – as an adult, I have a tendency to complain so often! You know what I am learning, though? I think the opposite of complaining is gratitude. When our hearts are full of gratefulness and thanksgiving for each and every thing He has done for us – big and small, there isn’t much room for complaining!
I’ve said it before, but I’ll mention it again…working on this Gift List each week has been so good for my soul. I actually think I am complaining less. I am more thankful for my family and less frustrated with their faults. I am more thankful for my relationship with the Lord and am generally able to focus on His good plan for my life, without dwelling so much on the negative.
I love that Paul says that the reason we should not complain is so that we can shine like stars in this crooked world. Aha. So, every time I complain to the non-believers around me, I am missing an opportunity to shine the love of Jesus into their lives. I am missing an opportunity to brag on God and allow them to see His work in my life. I really miss the boat when I complain, in more ways than one.
Notice also that this section of Scripture directly follows the beautiful passage of Christ’s humility and servanthood from Philippians 2:5-11. I think these verses are all put together for a reason…when we complain, we are focusing on ourselves. When we complain, we are claiming to have some right in our life to determine our circumstances and our future. However, when we are grateful, a heart of humlity just pours out thankfulness for all HE has done. Gratefulness turns our hearts back to HIM. Gratefulness takes our eyes off of ourselves and onto the One who deserves all the glory and praise.