Declaring War on Ungratefulness and Grumbling -- I think I do not get a star...

Posted by Page Phelps | | Posted On Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM

One verse that you will hear a lot in our house is:
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing (Philippians 2:14-16)

So, if children in my house do things without complaining (grumbling) or arguing (I include whining here).....they receive a star.  Or if they do things without us having to tell them they receive a star........on their star chart. 

Well,I have a challenge before me, because I have failed in this area (just read the below teaching).   I think that I need to do better at modeling this teaching.  Not just by word, but model it in my actions and words.  I do not think I deserve a star and that is what God is challenging me in these days, to not grumble, to not slander, but to love.
It's hard but I am challenging myself to be kind and grateful.  Because I have felt justified to grumble........but I have no right to grumble.  Hmmmm........... 

Another thing I sing when my children are not being kind to one another is, "Be kind to one another and build each other up, build each other up, build each other up, be kind to one another and build each other up....up, up, up, up, up!"  So, I have justified to myself so and so is not nice so my thoughts go way to the dumpster........stink I am huh?  So am I modeling being kind in my thoughts?  I will answer that for you........."NO!"  So..........my other challenge here is be kind and let my thoughts and words be to build another up, not tear them down.  Hmmmmmm.............

Growing pains.....for good measure!


Declaring War on Ungratefulness
and Grumbling

From my earliest Christian years I've heard questions about Jesus' comment concerning Judas Iscariot: "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70).

What did Jesus mean? Was Judas genetically a devil and not a man? (Jesus didn't say Judas had a devil; He said he was a devil). Can a devil actually live among people as a human? While I am no scholar in ancient Greek, I think truth is better served reading the literal translation of this verse. The word translated as "devil," diabolos, is the same word translated elsewhere in the New Testament as "slanderer" or "malicious gossip" (see 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3).

When Jesus says that Judas is a devil, He is saying one of you is a "false accuser," a "slanderer," a "malicious gossip." Judas could not keep his negative perspective to himself.

Remember, just before Judas delivered Jesus to the Pharisees, he was offended that Jesus allowed a expensive ointment to be poured upon His hair. Judas indignantly complained: "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?" (John 12:5). His words spread strife among the other apostles as well (Matt. 26:8).

Judas said, in effect, Who permitted this thoughtless luxury? Well, it was Jesus. The woman had anointed Him for His burial. Yet, to Judas this was an extravagance that Jesus shouldn't have taken. In the angry mind of Judas Iscariot, here was justification to go to the chief priests. He had grounds to break ranks with Christ (Matt. 26:14-15).

God Has a Problem With Grumblers
Betrayal is never a sudden thing; rather, it is an accumulative response to the unresolved anger and disappointment one feels toward another. The offenses we do not transfer to God in surrendered prayer inevitably decay and become a venom we transfer to others through gossip. In the process, we embrace slander, but we feel justified. We become malicious gossips, but in our minds we're only communicating a "truth," a character flaw, that we self-righteously "discerned."

To understand Judas' betrayal of Christ, we must unearth its source: Judas Iscariot was a grumbler. When we lose sight of the many things for which we should be thankful, we become murmurers and complainers, increasingly darkened by a thought-life engendered by hell.

Beware when your anger toward another Christian has led you to gossip about him or her, especially if you are embittered and are now sowing criticisms about him to others. Yes, beware: you are no longer being conformed to Christ, but are actually becoming more like Judas than Jesus.

Grumblers Everywhere
Of course, this grumbling attitude was not isolated to Judas' betrayal of Jesus. Many would-be disciples and Jewish leaders were also infected with murmuring. Consider: there were miracles everywhere and Christ had just fed the 5000 when a very large crowd of His disciples began to find fault. Yet, even though Jesus warned, "Do not grumble among yourselves" (John 6:43), still the crowd persisted. Remember, these were Christ's disciples, and they were not grumbling at a sinner, but the only sinless man who ever lived.

"But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this," asked, "Does this cause you to stumble?" (John 6:61). And then, the grumbling spirit continued until "many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore" (John 6:66). Incredibly, Jesus Himself suffered a type of "church split."

Grumbling caused people to stop seeing and appreciating miracles. It caused disciples to be offended by Jesus' teachings and stop walking with Him.

As it was then, so it is today. Grumbling will ultimately cause you to stop walking with Jesus. It is a killer. You see, not only were the Pharisees and Judas Iscariot critical of Jesus, even His closest apostles grumbled at times. Heaven itself was manifest in their midst, yet all they saw was what they perceived was wrong. That's what a grumbling attitude can do.

This poison of ingratitude is prevalent in the church today. Paul warned that "in the last days . . . men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips" (2 Tim. 3:1-9). You get the point: "men will be . . . malicious gossips" or devils. They will be given to destroying one another with their words.

The Thankful Heart
Personally, I've declared war on grumbling. An unthankful heart is an enemy to God's will. Can you join me in this? Can you crucify a murmuring spirit? We have received too much from God to allow ourselves opportunities for ingratitude and unbelief! We have received too many gifts and privileges to allow grumbling to disqualify us from our destiny.

The thankful heart sees the best part of every situation. It sees problems and weaknesses as opportunities to grow. My prayer is for each of us to possess the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. I want to drive that little, ugly, grumbling demon away from our hearts and replace it with a living awareness of the goodness of God!

Paul warned,"Nor let us . . . grumble, as [Israel] did, and were destroyed by the destroyer" (1 Cor. 10:9-10). The "destroyer" (called Abaddon in the Hebrew and Apollyon in the Greek) is actually the prince over the bottomless pit of hell (see Rev. 9). Listen well: the moment we open ourselves to grumbling, we simultaneously open up to destruction.

Thus, Paul tells us to fix our minds on the things above (Col. 3:1). Elsewhere he says,
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable . . . is right, whatever is pure . . . lovely . . . of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8).

Remember, Paul was writing to people in the ancient Roman world. It was full of evil, full of injustice, full of reasons to grumble and be upset; but instead, God calls His people to a higher realm, where we dwell on the things that are above.

You say, "Who then will point out all the things that are wrong with life?"

Oh, there are plenty of volunteers for that task. Better to ask, "How can I attain the blessed life Jesus came to give me?"

You say, "But the world is wicked. We need to decry and defeat evil." Yes, and I totally agree. I often decry evil myself. But I must live and offer a better life if I am going to defeat evil. God doesn't want His people to be grumbling about the difficult conditions of existence. He wants us to be mercy-motivated, redemption-orientated, prayer-empowered ambassadors of Heaven.

If we are merely complaining about what's wrong with the people around us, we should beware: we may actually be more like followers of Judas rather than Jesus.


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