“Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24
I came across this Scripture earlier this week; I believe it was the Bible app’s verse of the day. I had read it before but this time I read it in a new light. It became my memory verse and also my prayer. I prayed for God to search me and find anything in me that was offensive to Him. Then in prayerful silence I waited. It didn’t take long to get my answer and it was an answer that I should have seen coming.
Now, this post is a little longer than my typical posts, but hang with me to see what God revealed to me in the past few days.
I’m a complainer. I have a grumbling issue you may say. If there were a Complainers Anonymous I would need to be in it. It’s one of those things you just fall into the habit of: “It’s too hot out.” “Why is there so much homework?” “Seriously? I got food on my shirt. Again.”
Now, some people may think, “What’s the big deal? We all complain.” Yes, we all complain, some more than others – guilty – and we are born with a sinful nature, but I believe constant complaining is a sin and something we need to combat.
First off, I believe walking around with a complaining spirit is a heart issue. The Bible is full of verses about being thankful (seriously, just Google it). Grumbling about everything isn’t living with a very thankful heart; we are saying we are dissatisfied with what we’ve been given.
Secondly, what are we really complaining about? Awhile ago I had come across a verse in Exodus – 16:8 to be exact – saying that when we complain we aren’t doing so against people, we are doing so against God. That really puts things into perspective. Everything we have comes from the Lord and honestly I think this really goes back to being thankful. Even when we’re complaining about people, we’re complaining about God’s creation – the creation that He cherishes and loves.
Thirdly, I believe we need to speak life. This has been a real motto in my life the past few years, but I really haven’t been living up to it. Words do matter and we need to speak positively to and about each other. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Notice the words any and only. Complaining definitely does not fit into the category of wholesome or helpful, yet we do it all the time and consider it to be fine. Let me clarify something, though – there is a difference between complaining and talking about problems or situations you are going through. It is healthy and necessary to share with our fellow believers the struggles, temptations, and heartbreaks that we are dealing with. It’s when we find fault with everything and everyone that is the problem.
Luckily for us, there are ways to fight this complaining spirit within us. Psalm 78:1 says, “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” When we are praising God, our perspective changes from us to Him. When we focus on how wonderful He is, we don’t think of the petty things we often complain about. Again I say, it’s a heart issue. A thankful heart will overtake a complaining heart always.
Psalm 1 talks about the godly and how they delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night. I never really thought about what that meant until earlier this week in a message at chapel. The speaker said meditating on the law of God day and night means being constantly conscious of God and His standards for us. When you are conscious of God and you’re about to do something that goes against Him, He will let you know.
Also, prayer. Pray for God to change your heart. Pray to see the beauty in things and not just the negative things. Our God and this life He has blessed us with are beautiful.
I prayed for God to show me how I needed to change, and show me He did in just these few short days. It can be uncomfortable, yes, but I believe it’s worth sacrificing a little comfort so God can refine us and allow us to live a holier, more God-glorifying life. It’s an every day battle, fighting our inborn sinful nature, but with the God of angel armies on our side, no battle is impossible.
Photo Credit: Yaoqi LAI