Without complaint

It dawned on me yesterday that when Mark comes home from work, or even when he calls during the day to check in on me, my attitude is one of complaint.  I basically give him a rundown of who around here is challenging/disobedient/melting down/irritating me/making things generally difficult.  It's not all I talk about, but trust me: I cover it.

God, in His kindness, gently reminded me of this verse:

Do everything without complaining or arguing.  -Philippians 2:14


And: there are no exceptions to this.

No "...except with your husband, of course, to whom you may air any and all complaints."  Nope.  This is the word of God.  Do it all without complaint to anyone.

The verse goes on: "...so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..."

-I may become blameless
-I may become pure
-I may be a child of God without fault ("above reproach")
-I may shine like a star as I hold out the word of life

* * *

This morning I was up early (4:30!) and anxious about something so I began journalling and believe me when I say that those anxieties were bound to turn into complaints later on in the day when people were awake.

So I decided to do a little further research on that verse.

complaining or "grumbling" = dissatisfaction, an expression of one's discontent, disappointed expectations
arguing or "disputing" = to think out carefully, to reason.  Inward reasoning which finds expression in controversy or contention.

This, from John MacArthur, I found and wrote in my journal:

"Every circumstance of life is to be accepted willingly and joyfully, without murmuring, complaint or disappointment, much less resentment.  There is no exception.  There should never be either emotional grumbling or intellectual disputing.  It is always sinful for believers to complain about anything the Lord calls them to do or about any circumstance which he sovereignly allows.  Whether the task is difficult or easy, whether the situation involves a blessing or a trial, negative attitudes are forbidden."


Some other notes, mostly from Kay Arthur:

-The peace of God cancels out stress.
-You are not your own, you were bought with a price and you are to glorify God.
-We have the mind of Christ already (1 Corin. 2:16), now we must maintain it.
-Be a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3).  Soldiers:
*know a life of discipline
*know what it is to bring their bodies into subjection
*know what it is to be under orders.
-"blameless and pure"- speaks of the testimony of the church in the darkness of this age.  A complaining Christian is a poor witness.


Several hours later, I journaled:

I am struggling today, Lord.  Recognizing my sin so fully.  My constant need to "take my temperature", find the negative, and speak it.   Or at the very least grumble about it from within.  Ugh.

Also so aware of the fact that You are merciful to me; that You gently instruct me in the way of righteousness.  No condemnation.  Just truth.  Have I really been carrying on in this sin to this degree for so long?  And you have kindly and patiently waited to bring it to my attention, or waited until I was paying attention, or for the right timing.

I see now that my negativity and grumbling is unbelief.  It really is me not trusting You fully; not receiving what You bring as ordered by You.  It is me wanting to control and reeling when things do not go according to my expectations; grasping at how to order them aright again.  Instead of trusting: pure, simple trust.  Relying upon you wholly, being fully dependent.  I lack faith.

Today, for example: Mark, who has been working lots of overtime lately, was home for a rare lunch break and happened to come home at the same time mom had dropped in for a visit.  Mark was still here when she left, but Isaac was monopolizing his time and I had truly not even had a chance to say more than hello. I was agitated.  I wanted time with him.  So I was grumbling within.  I walked outside to hang some laundry and fought off the complaints in my head (those complaints are noisy!)  and ended up in tears.  But, Lord?  A proper response- a biblical response- would be for me to ACCEPT each instance as from Your hand.  An ordained visit from mom.  A chance for Isaac and Mark to talk, given by You.  An opportunity for me to rest in You, to trust in You, with contentment and gratitude and peace.  And yet: I am anxious and discontent.  I yield to the complaints, not to You.

Oh, Lord: help me submit to You.  Bring me humility, I ask.  Give me a submissive spirit.  May I have the attitude of a servant, yielding to You.  I thank You for revealing it to me.  I thank You for the many opportunities I have to grow in this; to see Your fruit in me, to have discipline in this area.  I desire to be above reproach, and I thank You, Father, for taking me to task on this.  Continue to flood me with Your word and with verses to memorize to battle this and with the clear voice of the Holy Spirit to guide me through each circumstance.  ~ Amen.

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