Reading: Philippians 2:14-18, 1 Corinthians 10:31
Be Still And Know:
"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..." Philippians 2:14-15
Drink Deep From The Well:
"Do everything without complaining or arguing." (NIV)
This is much easier written than it is executed in real life. Paul doesn't give us an out by saying "do some things" without complaining or arguing. He didn't compromise by excluding those things he knew we don't like to do. You know that laundry that's piled up that your child didn't fold? You can complain about that. And those errands you have to run that your husband was supposed to do yesterday? You can definitely argue about that! Don't forget to grumble about your small clothing budget compared to your friends! No. Paul didn't say any of those things. He said to do everything without complaining or arguing. The Bible is filled with absolutes because God is an absolute God. He does not waver in His character. He is not half-hearted or partially loving. Half-hearted love would not send Jesus to die on a cross for us. Rather, whole-hearted, radical, overflowing love is what was displayed in Jesus' death. God is a God of absolutes. He is fully loving, fully righteous, and fully just. As His children, we are called to live fully for Him by His grace.
I first memorized this verse in middle school. Complaining was a legitimate struggle for my heart at that time. Though the tasks I complained about may seem simple and small (cleaning my room, doing my homework, etc.), this verse taught me a big lesson. Why are we to do all things with a spirit of grumbling or disputing? "That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..." (verse 15) As followers of Jesus, our lives look radically different than the world. We have been cleansed by Jesus perfect blood and been given a new identity in Him (2 Cor. 5:17). Therefore, we go about life differently.
I looked up the meaning of the words "grumble" and "dispute" just to see the forms these attitudes take in our lives and found words like these: grouchy, doubtful, faultfinding, questioning, irritable, argue, and moan. As a new momma who has had little sleep these past two months, I can honestly this has been a struggle. The longer the days get, the more apt I am to be grouchy and irritable. Little chores like laundry, grocery shopping, and making the bed can feel like they are "too much" for my heart to handle in the midst of caring for a little one 24/7. There is great grace in this season. However, that is not an excuse for my heart to complain. The opposite of the words "grumble" and "dispute" is to praise, compliment, and agree. If we are to do everything without complaining or arguing, we can read this opposite and see that we are to do all things with a heart of praise to God, our Father.
When my baby is crying and won't nap, I am to rock him, soothe him, and lay down what I am doing to care for him with a heart of praise. I cannot do this apart from Christ's strength within me. But when I am able to do this in His grace and strength, the world sees a radically different woman than the rest. This is what the gospel looks like when it takes root in our lives. Our actions and attitudes are revolutionized. They are heaven-bent and eternal-focused. We cling to the cross so the gospel might be displayed in us and the twisted world would see the glory of salvation. Paul goes further to say that we are to "hold fast to the word of life" so we don't live this life in vain. We cannot follow God apart from His Word. We need the life-giving words of life to fill our hearts, direct our steps, and cleanse our attitudes.
I don't want to waste this life. Currently, I don't want to waste this season of being a momma by looking backward at how much easier life used to be or by looking forward to the days when Nolan can self soothe and sleep longer periods of time. Instead, I want to be a light that shines for Jesus in this season. I want the gospel to be deeply rooted in my heart so I can do all things without grumbling or disputing to the praise of Jesus Christ. Paul knew the secret of joy was abiding in Christ. And he wanted us to know this, too.
Paul lived his life to be "poured out" like a drink offering. Drink offerings were totally consumed at the sacrificial altar. Just like Jesus "emptied himself" to die on a cross for us, Paul wanted to follow in His footsteps. To be poured out for the Lord is the greatest privilege. Every day we have opportunities to be poured out. We can serve our family by cooking, cleaning, and caring for our children. We can bless others by working wholeheartedly at the job we are given to do. We can share the gospel with our lives by being patient, forgiving, and kind. We can cling to God's Word and meditate on it day and night so we don't run the race of life in vain.
Let's live our days with heaven-bent hearts instead of temporal-minds. To do so, we must come before the Lord with our hands open and hearts ready to be emptied of ourselves and filled up again with Christ. Open your hands today and receive every spiritual blessing through Christ. In Him, we can live a life that rejoices and praises always.
Ask and Apply
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:31. How does this verse reflect Philippians 2:14.
- In what areas of your life do you struggle with complaining and arguing? Ask the Lord to replace your attitude with a heart of praise.
- What does it look like to be "poured out"? How can we pour out our lives to share the gospel with the world?
Today I Learned
My attitude is reflected in my actions. When I place my gaze on Jesus, His humility flows out of me so I can shine like a bright light to the world. My life is a living, breathing testimony of the gospel.
Today I will
Today I will do all things, by God's grace and strength, with an attitude of praise.
Father, we cannot live a life pleasing to You apart from You. Complaining and arguing comes naturally to our hearts. But Jesus death on the cross sets us free from sin. Through Christ, we can do ALL things without a heart that is irritable and grouchy. Help us to do this. Make us into a people who praise You at all times and in all things. We want to shine like stars for You. In Jesus' name, Amen.