Friday, March 23, 2012

Why Complain?

The graciousness of God amazes me more every day.  I am so blessed, and enjoy so much, but I have been convicted of how often I forget to acknowledge that everything I enjoy is from God (Ecc. 2:25; James 1:17).  It’s actually only because of God’s graciousness that we enjoy anything at all.  As I ponder God’s graciousness, my sin of complaining has been brought to mind, and not just the complaints that come out of my mouth, but an attitude of complaint even when it isn’t verbalized.  In light of how God graciously provides for us, and the price that Jesus paid on the cross, it’s sad that myself, and other Christians are so apt to complain.  If you had a scale and on one side put your complaints, and the other side you put your thankfulness/gratitude, how would you measure up?  I’m pretty sure my complaints would far outweigh my gratitude.

This isn’t a new problem; we see it frequently in Scripture as well.  In Exodus we read about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, we see the parting of the red sea, and God’s sending manna and quail, but the people were back to complaining in a matter of chapters (Ex. 13 is the parting of the sea and by Ex. 17 the Israelites are complaining about being brought out of Egypt).  We read this and think about how foolish they were to complain about God’s provision, but don’t we do the same thing?  I complain about having to wipe off the dog’s muddy feet in the middle of the night because of all the rain we’ve had, but God is using that rain to provide water for us to drink, and to grow the crops that we eat, so I’m complaining about His provision.  People are quick to complain about the weather, jobs, traffic, the price of gas, the president, but Christians are called to be different, we are told to do EVERYTHING without complaining (Phil.2:14-15)  And not only do we complain about the same things the world complains about, we start complaining about the church as well.  The service is too long/short, the music is too loud or not my style, the pastor dresses too formally/casually, etc.

Our complaining is a constant reminder of how much we focus on ourselves throughout the day.  I think that focusing on the person and provision of God is a big key to battling an attitude of complaint and replacing it with a grateful heart.  To practically put off an attitude of complaint and put on a heart of gratitude, when I am tempted to complain, I will instead think of something to be grateful for and to pray, thanking God for His continuous provision in my life.  As we dwell on who God is and how unworthy we are to receive His provisions, how can we have anything to complain about?

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