“I’m so done with this winter!” “Why can’t we get ahead of these bills?” “If only I had a husband.” If only I had a husband like….” “Are we going to be stuck in this small house forever?” “I’m so tired of …..”
Grumbling is so common and natural that we often fail to recognize it as sin. Just days after God’s chosen people were delivered out of the cruel grip of the Egyptians, they began grumbling. Truthfully, had I been there, I have little doubt that my voice would have been among the whiners. After all, they were in the middle of the wilderness with no water in sight! They had no idea that God had intentionally led them to this very place to humble them and test their hearts (Deuteronomy 8). Utterly consumed with their immediate need, they had already forgotten the miracle they had witnessed only days before when the Lord of all creation had parted the waters of the sea and redeemed them from slavery.
This was the first of many wilderness lessons to follow; although, because the Israelites were were not quick learners, many of those lessons would need repeating. Sadly, as a result of missing God’s grace again and again, their unbelief ultimately kept a whole generation from entering the Promised Land.
If we are honest, we soon realize that this isn’t just about the Israelites. As we follow God’s people through the wilderness, we quickly begin to recognize our own need for deliverance from our bent towards sin.“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction…” 1 Corinthians 10:11.
Seeing my own heart reflected in these quick-to-grumble people I am stunned all over again by God’s costly provision for sin through the atoning work of His Son. Yet, while believers can rejoice that sin no longer has dominion over us (Romans 6:12), it is only as we choose to walk in the power of God’s Spirit that we can bring glory to His Name. Which means grumbling has to go!
Over the next few weeks we are going to look at some very compelling reasons to get rid of grumbling along with practical ways to combat this temptation.
Grumbling reveals our lack of understanding about what Christ has rescued us from. If we don’t recognize what we deserve as sinners before a holy God, we won’t appreciate what we’ve been given in Christ through the Gospel. God ordains circumstances that “test us to know what is in our hearts” (Deuteronomy 8:2). Pressure doesn’t cause us to sin; it only reveals the sin that’s at work in us. Grumbling exposes our blindness to the countless provisions of grace that flow out of God’s steadfast love and mercy, diminishing the kindness of God expressed through the Gospel.
A Strategy for Victory: Preach the Gospel to Yourself: Ephesians 2 boldly states that, apart from Christ, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins, following the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air…” Although we tend to think our greatest problem is whatever is currently blocking us from the thing we desire, God wants to teach us that our root problem is a love-for-self that keeps us from loving Him. Sin separates us from God and others, but the gospel leads us to humbly worship the One who redeemed us from an eternity of everlasting wrath.
Grumbling reveals unbelief in God’s goodness and wisdom. When we murmur and complain, in essence, we are saying, “God, you don’t know what you’re doing; I can run my life much better. You can’t really be good and wise if you refuse to give me this thing I want so much.”
God uses trials to humble us and teach us that the things of this world will never bring us the happiness we’re searching for. When unbelief marks our lives, we will be anxious, fearful, and miserable most of the time. But more than that, we’ll miss the opportunity to put the gospel on display and point others to Christ. God knows that we will continue to be restless until we find our true rest in Him.
A Strategy for Victory: Rejoice in the Lord always! (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4) Praise and thanksgiving lift our focus off of ourselves and empower us to see the wisdom and goodness of God that’s revealed all through Scripture. Above all, it reminds us that God’s love for sinful man was most clearly manifest at the Cross. As we increasingly exchange grumbling for praising we will begin to see many of the ways that God has used our difficulties for good and to bring glory to His name.
Are your words marked more by praise or a spirit of grumbling? Ask God to make you aware if murmuring and complaining have become a habit and then repent when He kindly brings conviction.
Next time I will share a few more reasons why women, who have been saved by the gospel, should get rid of grumbling!
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you. I’d love for you to share yours with me!