How many of you know somebody who seems to complain all of the time? Are you that person? Admit it, all of us complain about some things but some people seem to complain about everything.
The weather's too hot, the weather’s too cold, the service at the local fast food restaurant is too slow. These stop lights take forever; for crying out loud this person is driving 10 mph below the speed limit! I’m sure you have heard them.
Some people complain about their jobs while others complain about not having a job. Some complain about not having enough time to do all that needs to be done while some complain about having nothing to do at all. There is ALWAYS something to complain about.
If there's one group of people who were known for complaining more than any other in the Bible, it has to be the Israelites in the Old Testament. If you know their story, it's an interesting one. They were slaves, in bondage to the Egyptians and they had one prayer: 'God, get us out.' And God answered their prayer, raised up a leader named Moses and did what they asked. Within three days, however, they were complaining. Here’s the record.
Ex. 15:22-24 “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and came to a place named Marah… but they could not drink the waters of Marah for they were bitter… So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” This account started a pattern of complaining that went on and on and on…
What they didn’t know and what many of us don’t realize is just how significant our words can be. What you put on your lips can open doors or close them.
God’s disposition changed toward the Israelites when they constantly complained. They closed the door on his favor and opened the door for his chastisement. His love for them remained the same but His propensity to bless them was altered. Just like a parent who wants to bless their child with gifts but because of his or her incessant complaining the parent decides to withhold the blessing in order to train the child in thankfulness.
Words put on our tongues are powerful. St. James tells us they are like a fire, which can heat things up in a positive way or set things on fire from hell. Solomon said death and life are in the power of the tongue…
In 2012 I’ve committed myself to living out Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing…” How can this become a reality?
1. Ask God to purify your heart because the fruit of what you say is connected to the root, which is in your heart attitude.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others because it is often the source for your complaints.
3. Focus on the things that really matter in life. Much of what we complain about won’t matter down the road. The material world will fade away but relationships with God and others will outlast time.
4. Ask God to help you become aware of it when you do it. Often it is so ingrained into our subconscious that we often complain without realizing it.
Here’s a truth. There is ALWAYS something to complain about. Yet, there is also ALWAYS something for which you can give praise. Choose to fill your mouth with praise. You will make a positive difference in those around you!