Do All Things Without…
My middle child dearly loves listening to his music, which consists of songs from Veggie Tales, Action Bible Songs, and a couple of older Steve Green CDs of bible verses set to fun, kid-friendly music (his very favorite). We listen to it so frequently that it has pretty much become part of the “sounds” of the home.
I often find myself singing the songs without even thinking about it, especially the Steve Green bible verse ones.
The one stood out to me this morning was Philippians 2:14-15a, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God…”
How many times I have quoted this to my children! As a parent, it is a great verse to have memorized so you can toss it out there when your child needs a reminder.
And if you really want to bring your point home, you can quickly follow it up with Colossians 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”
Faithful parenting = instructing your children in the way that they should go. No better way to do that than going straight to God’s Word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Handy verses for training up your child, right? But they’re not just for training up children…
While singing about not complaining & arguing the Lord reminded me that this verse applies to me, too. As I have grown in my relationship with Him, I have gotten better at not complaining. Not perfect, but better.
At least, better at not complaining out loud. But that is only part of it. The problem here is the heart.
Matthew 15:18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”
We all have negative or unworthy thoughts pop in our head now and again, but when we allow these negative thoughts to grow into a running narrative that plays on and on, this is also complaining!
Is complaining really that big of an issue? It seems pretty harmless, right?
It IS a big deal because God has called us to be thankful in all things!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
This means that when we complain, even to ourselves, we are being disobedient and are expressing dissatisfaction and a lack of trust in the Lord’s provision. We are saying to ourselves (and other people!) that God doesn’t quite know what He is doing and we know that He could have made a better plan. Sometimes we even go so far as to tell Him and other people what He should have done! I cringe to think of how my complaining might have affected others and their understanding of who God is.
It doesn’t sound so harmless when we realize what we are actually doing when we complain! We become like the Israelites who continually grumbled in the desert instead of being thankful that the Lord saved them from the Egyptians.
Have you ever noticed that the more you complain, the more you continue to complain? That’s because when we start complaining and expressing dissatisfaction, the enemy is right there waiting to show you all the things you should be unhappy about! Very quickly, complaining becomes a habit that is difficult to break.
How do we guard against complaining?
By choosing to be thankful! Thankful for who God is, His love, and all that He has done for us. Give Him praise!
By trusting Him! Trusting that He is the Sovereign Lord whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8)!
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
But even before these, we need to repent for our ungratefulness and lack of trust.
If this is something you struggle with (or even if it isn’t), ask the Lord to show you areas of your life that you are prone to complaining about. Ask a trusted person in your life to provide loving correction when you start complaining. Above all, spend time in prayer and the Word!