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Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., explains how being focused on God and others helps us to avoid complaining.
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (Philippians 2:14–16)
Today’s big question: how do we not complain?
We all live in a cursed world and go through various trials and tribulations. God’s Word commands that we “do all things without complaining and disputing.” Does this mean that sharing your burdens to another is complaining? For example, if I am sick, am I allowed to tell others? With these questions in mind, we will examine the specifics of what Paul meant by “complaining,” and how to avoid it.
Applying the authoritative commands of Scripture to our own lives is important. However, we must understand the commands before we can apply them. There are those who do not even try to apply them, and there are others who do try but fail due to misapplying the commands. Paul’s instruction can easily be misapplied if the entire context of the passage is ignored. Philippians 2:3–4 helps provide the proper context.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Complaining (or grumbling, as some translations have it) is a self-centered attitude that dictates what should be but is not. We should be proactive when it comes to suffering. Rather than complain about the events that God has allowed in our life, let us trust in God and work to remedy the problems that occur.
We should not share our burdens with a selfish attitude; however, this does not mean we cannot share the trials we are going through. We are to humbly share our burdens with fellow believers while thanking God for placing us in the body of Christ, the church.
If any one member of the body of Christ is hurting, the whole body suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26). We should love not only Christ but the whole body of Christ as well. We are to lovingly help our fellow believers, supporting and encouraging them as they go through various trials. Look around you and try to help bear the burdens of other believers—you might find that your own concerns do not seem all that burdensome anymore.
Today’s big idea: we share our burdens with humility and thanksgiving to God.
What to pray: ask God to help us put others first.