14“Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Philippians 2:14-15
I remember road trips when I was younger in my mom’s minivan. That green plymouth was such a space of comfort in my younger years. It was a safe haven. Good memories, comfortable seats, great company, and the cassette player always had some kind of kiddie Christian tunes pumping out of the speakers. The one song that I particularly remember, and often start humming the tune to is, “do everything without complaining. Do everything without arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God…”
The days that this song pops in my head are usually the days when I’m doing the most complaining. It seems like there is always something to complain about…the weather, your job, your new haircut, your boss, the food you ordered, the car that cut you off, your spouse’s inability to pick up socks off the floor, or just having to run upstairs one more time because you forgot something. I complain a lot! And that’s an understatement. I even remember when I started complaining about that green mini van when I got older. I thought it was old, ugly, ragged, and made me look bad when I showed up at school. It was embarrassing, because back then it was all about the cool SUV your mom dropped you off in right? When I think back to that, I think about how ridiculous and spoiled I acted. I was fortunate enough to be toted around by my mom, have transportation, and my own bench in the van (we all know how important that was…don’t lie).
Complaining and arguing comes so naturally. It’s just our sin nature trying to get the best of us by making us, as Christians, look and act like the world. I know that when I start mouthing off because of one little thing, my testimony becomes slightly tarnished in a way. I have one life to live, and of course I won’t live it without complaining or arguing about something, but I can try my best to hold my tongue. Even on the small things…and especially the big things. I forget this at least once a day. It’s not easy to not complain. Try it. Once it becomes more of a habit to bite that tongue, your life will feel a bit lighter. Your day won’t be so messed up. I’m not saying blue birds will come down singing and sit on your shoulder, but some stress and tension will come off those shoulders.
This is a hard verse in the Bible. I actually don’t like it, because it’s so tough to live out – some days near impossible. But it is in the Bible. We cannot turn a blind eye to this, because the second part of this command is, “so that no one can criticize you.” That’s a very important part. If we as Christians don’t live out the Word and it’s commands, people will scrutinize everything you say and throw it back in your face so that they have proof that Christians are phony and all talk.
So, try it for the rest of the week. If you catch yourself mid sentence, just stop. I’ll be joining the “no complaining train,”because it’s commanded of us, and I haven’t been doing a very good job at it.
LORD, not complaining in this life is difficult, because it brings so many trials and ups and downs every single day. Help us not to become bogged down by the details of our life, but to look at the grandeur picture and see that through these complaints we have there are often blessings within. We can’t have flowers without rain and we can’t have clean clothes without having to do that last load of laundry, right? Help us to remember Your blessings. Let us not tarnish our testimonies in order to further Your kingdom, Father. Amen