Grumbling

I came across a convicting passage in my reading today.  I think we’ve all felt a little “zinged” by our consciences when we find Scripture verses like this:

“We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.  Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:8-13 (ESV)

Oh, how easily I forget that God takes grumbling as seriously as He takes unbelief or sexual immorality!  And lest I think I have an excuse, here I am reminded that “He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability”.

The temptation to grumble is not too much for me.  If I justify it by saying, “My day was especially hard, and I deserve to gripe a little, because my situation is too harsh and unfair,” I am deceiving myself and complaining against the good God who gave me salvation and is so much wiser than me.

Imagine if some parents took their child to the best, most expensive theme park in the world, a place he had longed to go all his life – and the child spent the entire time whining because the sun’s hot, this seat’s hard, my feet hurt, I hate lines, my face got splashed on that water ride, the big roller coaster was too scary for me, and why can’t you buy me some more snacks?  Don’t you love me, Mom?  Why did you bring me here?

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” – Philippians 2:14-15

What if we Christians were easily recognized, even without a word, by our uncomplaining contentment?

It’s not a sin to be sad, or even to be angry or frustrated (depending on what you’re angry about).  Emotions are emotions.  They happen, because we are humans, not robots.  What matters is what we do with them, and how we react to hardships.  Do we react to roadblocks and troubles with entitlement and whining, or do we react with hands raised up to Him in thankfulness?  When we meet trouble, do we turn inward, muttering, “Why me?” – or do we turn to Him, crying out, laying our burdens on Him until our load is light?

This is something that only comes with training and discipline in godliness.  That became my focus for today – turning away from any grumbling, choosing patience and peace instead.  I always need more practice!

“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7:22-25a

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  1. That always zaps me, as well, when I see that ‘seemingly’ lesser sin shoulder-to-shoulder with those other ‘big’ sins. What? Oh yeah! That IS serious.

    2 Timothy 3:1-3 has the same affect when I read “ungrateful” along with all the other, more obvious, sins…

    “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,…”

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