14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 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 16 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. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
We may not get past verse 14 today. Paul said to do everything without complaining or arguing. He wouldn’t have written this if it wasn’t possible. We can do it with the power of God who is at work in us; (Phil. 2:13 – “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”).
Complaining and arguing steal your joy and the joy of those around you. Complaining is usually negative critical whining that comes from emotional discontent and failing to have the attitude of Christ (Phil. 2:5). The word gives the picture of murmuring or grumbling; like a person who sighs or mutters things to themselves, but in such a way that you know they’re dissatisfied or disgruntled. Complaining usually arises from a self-centered attitude, and complainers often think their murmurings are justified; they forget that they’ve discarded the attitude (and actions) of Jesus.
Arguing is usually more public, and involves expressions that tend to create distrust or doubt toward someone, some ministry or some decision that’s been made. Arguing tends to be more intellectual in nature and once again usually comes from a self-centered attitude. While the person “arguing” may feel they are justified in what they say, their comments normally create a sense of distrust which can easily lead to dissension which is a serious sin.
On a positive note, Paul says you can become “blameless and pure” in the midst of a very depraved culture. Some of the first steps are to stop complaining and arguing. Set aside your personal opinions and agendas and live in such a way that you bring honor to God with your lips and your life. 2 Peter 1:3 says God has given us His divine power and in that power we have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. Phil. 4:13 says we can do anything God wants through the power of Jesus Christ who lives in us.
If you tend to be a grumbler, or like to bring up things that stir things up and cause disputes, you probably need an attitude check. Paul wanted the Philippians to be happy and rejoice with him. God wants us to experience joy in our daily life. Remember – complaining and arguing steal your joy and the joy of those around you.
GFC Pastors and staff – be the first or fifth person to email me on Friday (Aug. 22) after reading this – and include the verse from Philippians we are memorizing together – and you’ll receive something that brings you joy.