“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.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)
I feel like grumbling today. Winters here in Oklahoma tend to be on the milder side. We get a little cold and a little snow, enough to make it feel like winter. But, this year, we are breaking all kinds of records. We tied the record for most days below freezing, and then we broke the record for the coldest temperature.But why is grumbling bad? The kind of complaining Paul is describing has the appearance of us saying God is not treating us fairly. Or that we think we know better than God. No Grumbling Click To Tweet
On top of that, we had one of the snowiest winters in over 100 years. These records brought frozen pipes and rolling blackouts across the state. The snow and cold stretched all the way down to Mexico. And the entire state of Texas felt temperatures below freezing one morning. I think many of us are tired of the cold and ready for some warmth.
The definition of grumbling includes an action or fact of complaining in a bad-tempered way or expressing a complaint in a bad-tempered way.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grumbling
What do you feel like grumbling about today? Maybe it’s about COVID-19 lockdowns or the weather or finances or a million other things. Everybody grumbles, don’t they? The rich, poor, good, bad, non-Christian, and Christian all find something to complain about in this life. So, what’s the harm in it?
The Apostle Paul encourages us to do everything without grumbling or arguing. He wants us to understand that we are different from the world. So by not complaining and fighting, we are set apart. Paul further explains that if we act differently from the rest of the world, we will shine among them like stars in the sky. Paul does not mean for this to be boastful, but instead, he wants us to reflect the light of Jesus. Just like the way the stars reflect the light of the sun.
Is Grumbling Bad?
But why is grumbling bad? The kind of complaining Paul is describing has the appearance of us saying God is not treating us fairly. Or that we think we know better than God. And, our words become like the child stomping their feet because they did not get what they wanted. As the world watches the faithful, they too question God for His action or lack of effort. My complaints turn them away from God instead of to Him.God encourages us to pour out our sorrow, anger, depression, fear, and disappointment to Him. No Grumbling Click To Tweet
King David showed us how to lament the events of the world without causing damage like complaining. We find one example in Psalm 142:2 (ESV); “I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.” David’s example differs because he complains in private. He talks to God about his problems, not to the world. God encourages us to pour out our sorrow, anger, depression, fear, and disappointment to Him. All throughout the Psalms, we see how God wants us to handle our grievances.
Verses for Not Complaining
Here are some other verses to remind us how not to act:
- John 6:43 (NIV): “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered.”
- I Corinthians 10:10 (NIV): “And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.”
- Psalm 106:25 (NIV): “They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord.”
Verses to Encourage
And here are some additional verses to encourage us:
- 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV): “Do everything in love.”
- Psalm 74 (NIV)
- 2 Peter 1:4 (NIV): “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
So go ahead and complain to God, but no grumbling. Learn from the lamenting psalmists and from Paul how to be a faithful complainer.
Heavenly Father. Sometimes I feel like grumbling because of my circumstances. Forgive me for following the example of the world instead of Your model. Help me to bring my troubles to You as I seek to understand Your purposes. Teach me to always trust in Your ways even when I don’t understand. Amen.
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian author, blogger, and speaker.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Click photo to purchase books