Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Trashing Your Grumbling.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

We’ve all been there when a person grumbled about a certain circumstance that they can’t stand. Perhaps in that moment the language goes on and on about how unfortunate it is, how they wish it’d be different, and how they surely know the answer and solution for how to make it different. We’ve heard it. We’ve been there. We’ve done it.

Yet the Bible says: do everything without grumbling or disputing (Philippians 2:14).

So what can we do? We must affirm and apply these factors.

1. Grumbling is a sin.
We must call it for what it is. God calls grumbling sin. Period. But grumbling expresses dissatisfaction with someone that has happened, occurred. It’s can even include a perceived disapproval of something that may or may not have happened. To grumble is to live discontent. To grumble is to not glorify God in that moment. To give into grumbling is to pour lighter fluid on the fire of our discontent and ungrateful hearts. God hates grumbling. That’s why He killed a nation of grumblers in the wilderness many generations ago. We can’t brush this aside and ignore it. Nor can we reject it or refuse to see it in all its monstrous corruptions. We must understand that God said on one occasion of old when Israel grumbled: “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against me” (Num 14:27)?

2. Grumbling must be mortified.
With the understanding that grumbling is sinful, we cannot tickle it or ignore it or redefine it or giggle about it. Nor can we find solace in the fact that there are untold myriads of people who grumble online, on social media, on blogs, and in conversations (just ask a fellow employee!). Because grumbling is a sin, it must be laid aside or hacked to pieces. If a murderer broke into your home you wouldn’t show hospitality to him at all, nor would you coddle him or sympathize with his covetous desires for your stuff. No! To use Paul’s language, these sins must be “put to death” (Col 3:5). This is what God literally did with a grumbling nation. He did put them to death — in the wilderness. We must slay this monstrous dragon and we must have no mercy toward this thankless monster. Grumbling is discontentment lodged deep in the heart. It is dissatisfaction taking root in the heart. For this reason we must mortify — wage war violently and persistently with! — our grumblings. In a word, we must aim to be daily trashing our grumbling. It isn’t a one-time duty but an ongoing discipline for every Christian, to put to death the deeds of the flesh and this certainly includes complaining and grumbling.

3. Grumbling must be exchanged.
It does no good for a person to quip: I won’t do that anymore. Or, sorry for my complaints. The Word of God calls believers to and empowers believers to radical amputation by putting off sinful habits and replacing them with godly habits. If grumbling reveals a thankless heart and a discontented spirit, then we must cultivate thankfulness and contentment. Perhaps we do well to rise early in the morning and frequently thank God for what He has done for us in the gospel, all the wondrous and undeserved benefits we have in Christ, and every blessing He bestows upon us every day. We can deliberately grow in thankfulness to seek to deliberately slay our grumblings. To foster contentment means that we need to be thankful for God, for finding our all in all in Him and resting in His all-sufficiency and then reminding ourselves that in Christ we truly lack nothing. It calls for a refocusing of mind — daily. We do well to pray for a grateful heart and to cultivate a content spirit as we go about our day. So, then, the words of Paul become so very practical when he says: give thanks in every circumstance. May the Lord help us to trash our grumbling and triumph in gratitude — for the glory of Christ, for the sweetness of His name, and for the all-satisfactions found in His gospel! 


Linda Rice said...

Grumbling is indeed a monster, and it grows bigger on each little morsel. I also like your illustration of trash, with the imagery of what is in the trash under my sink that I carry out to the trash bin for weekly pick up and disposal. Grumbling really is ugly stuff. If only I would see it that way when I’m the one doing it! Thanks for the reminder.

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