We complain about everything—the weather, our jobs, our spouses, our kids, our political system, on and on it goes. Yet complaining doesn’t make anyone feel better, more alive or more at peace. Complaining deflates, it brings you down and it is contagious. Satan uses complaints to kill, steal and destroy. There are two ways to put an end to complaining. One is to change your external world so that there is no circumstance to complain about. You find a job that asks you what you want to do, how many hours you want to work, and how much you want to be paid. You find a world where your wife, kids, friends and even the dog do everything just the way you like. Add a perfect government, and you are well on your way to a complaint-free existence. The other way is to change your internal world. Ask God to give you an attitude of contentment. No matter what’s going on in this world, which is filled with pain, suffering and difficulties, you can live in contentment without being disingenuous. It is possible when you approach each day with thanksgiving on your lips.
Ex 6:5, 16:2-3; Nu 11:5; De 1:27; Jb 10:1; Ec 3:11; Ps 31:10, 100:1-2, 106:25; La 2:19; Ro 8:22-23, 26-27;
1 Co 10:10; Phil 2:14
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ec 3:11) Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. (La 2:19) Do everything without grumbling or arguing. (Phil 2:14) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Ps 100:1-2)
God does not expect us to bury our heartfelt hurt and pain. The Bible instructs us to pour out our hearts before God to groan to Him in our distress. In Romans 8:22 we read that all creation groans and travails. Ever since sin entered the world, all of creation has been awaiting the redemption that God promises when Jesus returns. The world is a sin-filled place; there will be pain. But groaning before God is different than complaining or grumbling. We grumble behind God’s back. Paul says we should not grumble. God expects us to live with thankfulness on our lips. Psalm 100 makes clear what is expected—make a joyful noise! But what about when we don’t feel thankful? What about when we feel disappointed and distressed? Make a joyful noise anyway! It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action. The password into God’s presence is thank you! God blesses us with each breath we take, each moment, each hour of life. The blessings and beauty he has placed in our lives are evident. Connect the dots. Be aware of God’s presence, active, working blessing you each and every day. You will not find God in the midst of complaining. You will find God in the gratitude.
Would your family and friends say you are a complainer? What do you complain about most? How do you feel when you complain? How does having a complainer in the midst of a group affect the mood? Whom do you know that is always expressing thankfulness? What affect does that person have on you? Does someone’s thankfulness ever get on your nerves? Why? When you read about the miracles that God performed in behalf of the Israelites what do you expect their response to be? How did they respond? How do you feel about the Israelites? Discuss why it’s easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action.
Start each day with thankfulness. Every morning think of 5 things you are thankful for and express your gratitude to God. Put a restraint on your tongue when you want to complain or want to join in with someone who is complaining. Take your heartfelt needs, hurts and cares to God. He will listen.
Dear God, thank you for all my blessings. Thank you for my work, my family, my home, the beauty of nature, and for your presence in my life. Help me to face each day with a grateful heart and to be a positive influence in the lives of others because of my thankful attitude and spirit. You have blessed me because of your great love; may my life be a testimony of thankfulness. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.