Extremes - opposed behaviors.
Eph 5:18-20. One side is drunk with wine, the other side is being filled with the spirit. Two opposing sides. V20. Always giving thanks for all things.
The extremes we will discuss tonight are gratitude or grumbling. 1Thess. 5:12-28. But the passage we will focus on is Phil. 2:12-16. Doesn’t it seem like most people are experts at complaining? Like it’s a national pastime? So is it possible to change? Even necessary to change? Some would say, people don’t change. That’s really a generalization. The whole focus of the gospel is about radical change. Many Christians find a contented place in regard to their imitation of Christ and that’s where they park themselves. Oh sure, they’ll continue to study the Bible. But the change they intend on making has already happened.
People don’t change. Can I? Will I? Will you? If it’s true people can’t change then the Bible has no meaning at all.
Complaining, murmuring. This passage is not saying don’t say anything negative ever. Some of the things we talk with others about may include negative viewpoints, we just have to be watchful about how much of our attitude is complaint-based.
What we might be seen as saying is we are denying God’s goodness. The Israelites are a perfect example. 1 Cor 10 details all the complaining they did even after witnessing the 10 plagues and the salvation at the Red Sea. God continues to provide when they complain and yet they continue. But then things change. Starting in Numbers 11 and after, whenever someone complains, someone dies. They failed because life wasn’t perfect. God expects us to be done with that attitude.
Contentment is found in knowing God and His will and trusting in Him to provide.
These things should limit our complaining:
We know saving truth. Think of how few know that. How wonderful is that?We have a relationship with God. We can ask for His help.We have uplifting assemblies. Some congregations don’t have elders. Some don’t have kids. Some are teeny tiny. We have very comfortable lives. We don’t realize how well we live. We have so many conveniences. Food. Family - even if ours isn’t perfect. Fixes. Things can be fixed or replaced.Some people even like to have pets. And on and on it could go.
When we complain we disturb our relationship with others. And we discredit our testimony to unbelievers. Why would anyone around us want what we have if all we do is complain? And, we discourage God’s workers.
How to defeat complaining:
Change negatives to positives
Focus on the things we get to do, not have to do
Observe a complaining fast
Turn complaints into solutions
Thank God more