“Do all things without complaining” (Phil. 2:14) has always been a slightly disturbing verse for me. It’s so finale. There is no wiggle room, no exception clause, no fine print. Is it even possible to live one day without speaking or thinking a single complaint?
We live in such a fallen world and there are literally hundreds of thousands of things that we could complain about. In fact I believe it would be very difficult to go one day without complaining because a complaint can take on many different forms, from words, to sighs, to eye rolling, and facial expressions. Then there is, of course, our thoughts. How often have complaints popped into your head without you even realizing it was happening? But complaints do not really come from circumstances. They come from our hearts.
A complaining spirit finds its source in a selfish and prideful heart, which means we all will be fighting against this temptation for the rest of our lives or until Christ returns. There are some things that we can do to begin to have victory over this sin. Here are a few of them.
Pray More, Complain Less
Everyone should pray more. None of us practice “praying without ceasing” as we should (1 Thess. 5:16,18 ). But if we could get in the habit of running to God for every little thing in our lives our complaints would soon begin to diminish.
See Who We Really Are, Complain Less
There is a little Jekyll and Hyde in all of us. On the one hand we are sinners whose hearts are corrupt, whose devotion is fickle, and whose faith is often weak. On the other and we are saints, saved by the grace of God and blood of Christ, adopted into his family, coheirs with Christ and perfect in the eyes of the Father. The more we understand both of these sides the less we will complain because we will see how little we deserve and yet how much we have been given.
Focus On Christ, Complain Less
It is easy to become very comfortable with the sacrifice of Christ and begin to take it for granted. If we were to take time to meditate on the cost of our salvation and the fact that even our little complaint about the weather is another reason Jesus was nailed to the cross and suffered the wrath of God, we would be quick to repent and slow to complain.
Read The Scripture More, Complain Less
What is sharper than a double edged sword and can reach the farthest corners of our souls? What has the power to renew our minds and cause lasting change in our hearts and life? Nothing but the power of God working through the word of God. Therefore the more we read, study, and meditate the more our minds will be renewed and our complaining will become be put to death.
Focus on Others, Complain Less
Most of our complaints stem from a self-focused life. Complaining is usually all about “me” and what I want, but am not getting. Part of killing our complaints is found by focusing on others (as God commands in Phil. 2:3) instead of ourselves. The more others-oriented we are the faster we are to be patient, show deference, and forgive.
Praise God, Complain Less
How can we complain if we are singing and praising God? It’s simply impossible to do both. We need to attack a complaining spirit with a spirit of praise. Singing of and meditating on God’s character produces gratitude and quiets our complaining spirit.
You were made to find your satisfaction in the Lord and in his ways. The more we grow in this the less ungodly complaint has room to exist in our hearts.