“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.”
Today’s post is one that I will admit is as much for me as anyone else. I won’t say that I always grumble or argue, but it is certainly present in my life. When the passage from Philippians appeared as one of the options for the weekly blog hop through the Online Bible Study, I was not even sure I could write on this with any authority. However, God gently nudged me that this post isn’t about my success, but about making progress in an area He sees I can improve. The passage given is from Philippians 2:14-16 and it tells us: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a “warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 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.” I certainly cannot say I do everything without grumbling or arguing, but I do want God to use me to shine in this world like stars in the sky while I hold firmly to the word of life.
My grumbling generally comes when things are not going the way I imagine they should. The kids are arguing and grumpy. There is more work to do than time in the day. My body is tired or sore. The list could go on. My arguing is also usually tied to things not going my way also. My husband did something I did not think he should. My kids are not listening and making life difficult. Sometimes I even argue with God. He certainly could not mean life to be like this. He cannot mean for me to do this. In Romans 12:2, we are told: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” God does not want my way, He wants something more. I admit this is a challenge for a take charge kind of girl, but I know this is what is best for me.
Paul, the author of Philippians, was pretty clear as to his reason why he followed this piece of wisdom. On earth, he will be an example of the nature of God. When he meets Christ, because he was an example of the nature of God, his life will not have been in vain. That is an amazing thing on which to focus. When it seems difficult and we are ready to grumble or argue, instead think of where the grumbling or arguing is going to get you. Do you want to live a life in vain? Or, would you rather live a life after God’s own heart? While the temporary gratification of “poor me” may seem good for a short time, it certainly does not hold the long term happiness I crave. Only a life lived for God, being an example of His love and mercy, is what can bring me this happiness.
Paul is also very clear on the result of our living without grumbling or arguing. We will be blameless and pure, without fault in a warped in crooked generation. Does this mean we will become perfect? No, the Bible is clear we have all sinned. Blameless, pure and without fault mean something a bit different in biblical terms. They imply an excellent example of the Christian faith, something which those of the faith can look to for encouragement, and those not of the faith can look to and see what it is all about. I have to admit, I am often in awe of those who seemingly take on numerous challenges without complaining. These are the ones whom I want to model my life after. I want to look to them for current examples.
More importantly, I can look to the source, Jesus, to see a life filled with trial and hardship, but not filled with grumbling or arguing. No, Jesus lived a life characterized by forgiveness, mercy and loving guidance. Even during those times when I feel alone or overwhelmed by the challenges I face, I can look to the stories shared in the Bible to find encouragement, instruction and love. Taking time away to more closely look at these stories makes it easier to reduce our complaining and arguing.
Where does this leave me, and perhaps you? I once again look to God, pleading with him to help me keep my focus on His amazing promises. While I must have some grace with myself, I know making steps to keep my focus on God will help me to grumble and argue less, ultimately making me happier and more at peace. I know in my heart that most of my complaining and arguing causes me further anger, disappointment and frustration. Why would I continue in this way? God has promised me something better, and I can be a shining example of His glory if I do! What an amazing promise. What an amazing gift. In the midst of trial, hardship and frustration, there is love, peace and forgiveness. Praise be to God forever!