Can I Grumble About It?

“Do all this without grumbling or debate,”

(Philippians 2:14)

Oh my. This is where we so often get ourselves in trouble. We know what the right thing is, we know we ought to do it, we don’t want to do it, but since it is the right thing we do it anyway — grumbling the whole time (at least to ourselves!). And here we go, we have the Apostle Paul telling us that we need to count one another’s needs as greater than our own and that we are to be obedient to Christ’s commands in all ways…but also that we are to do so without griping about it. Oh my. For some, I think that griping is a favorite hobby even, but no, not in the life of the Christian.

God’s interest is not just in our right actions. Were that the case, he would never have rebuked the wayward Israelites regarding their sacrifices…even to the point of saying that he hated and detested them. Why? Because their hearts weren’t in the right place. They believed that if they just performed the ritual in the proper way, then God would be pleased with them. God was not. And Paul echoes to us as well, in the Christian church, that God likewise will not be pleased by our service or by our offering of praise if our heart is in the right place.

Note that this also means that Christians don’t have carte blanche in their worship even if their heart is in the right place. for the Christian, the spirit of obedience must be joined with actions of obedience. Both go rightly together and cannot be separated in a life of faith.

And just in case you are wondering, the words that Paul uses here carry exactly the same connotations in English as they do in Greek. The word goggusmo/ß (gongusmos) means to talk about things in a low voice behind people’s backs or behind the scenes, typically in a way that voices a complaint. The word dialogismo/ß (dialogismos) means to debate or dispute someone’s reasoning…to argue about the conclusions of others. As fond of grumbling about our obedience as we might be, this too needs to be put to death in our lives.

True obedience follows a heart that is committed to Christ in all things and no matter the cost. That kind of heart does not typically develop overnight, but happens through training and conscious decisions to honor Christ in all things. It is a reflection of our love to God and his Son, Jesus. And a heart like this is equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Loved ones, embrace it…oh, and embrace it without grumbling or arguing about it…

2 Comments

  1. gtnyetoo

    Oh it’s so hard sometimes; but you’re so right and my prayers often are for God to help me stop. When I think of the many things He’s blessed me with it really helps. I guess “Count your blessings” is a good thing to do. For those who don’t know the lyrics:

    When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

    Count your blessings, name them one by one;
    Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
    Count your blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

    Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will be singing as the days go by.

    When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
    Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
    Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high.

    So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

    from “Hymnal.Net”

    Like

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