“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” – Nehemiah 8:10
Recently I have found myself more and more frustrated with people who complain. Now, I am not saying that all of their complaints are invalid and in their heart they don’t have the right motives, but are we as believers supposed to just complain? What about those things that we have no control over and no matter what we do we will never be able to change? I guess the key is to know what we can and cannot change.
In the world, there are many things that we do have the power to change. If we do not like what our government is doing, we can make phones calls to our representatives and inform them of the items we strongly oppose. If they ignore us, we can change things at the ballot box. If we find ourselves in circumstances we don’t like, we can work on changing those circumstances. In other words, we need to work on changing ourselves. But there are some things that we cannot change. We cannot change someone’s heart. This is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. We cannot force someone to forgive us, but we can forgive them. You see, it is important to understand what we have control over and what we cannot control. This doesn’t mean we can’t address an issue and try to change something to make it better, but if it is beyond our control to change we should not continue to complain about it once we have voiced our opinion and nothing changes. There are many things we need to pray about and allow God to work.
Paul shares in romans 8:28 that, “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” Do we truly believe that God is in control of our lives? If we do, then we should be thanking God for the plan He is working out for us and stop complaining. Complaining gives Satan a foothold in our lives. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul warns the Corinthian church, “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.” Satan thrives when we complain. He uses our discontent to divide and conquer. He did this a lot to the Israelites in the desert and many of them died because of the their discontent. In everything we are to “give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
Do we complain because we have a lot of problems? No, we have problems because we complain. When we complain, it doesn’t change things or make situations better. It amplifies frustration, spreads discontent and discord (which God hates – Prov 6:16-19), and can invite Satan the destroyer to cause chaos in our lives. We need to trust God and find our joy in Him, not in our situations. When we do this consistently we will find the strength to overcome anything that this world throws at us.
Father, help me to be content in every part of my life. Help me to not complain about things that are beyond my control and to change those things that I can, and give me the wisdom to know the difference. Help me Father to understand the part I play in every situation that you put me in, and to understand how I need to change me to make the situation better. Help me to find my joy in You! I know that the more I focus on You the less I focus on me. Help me to speak words of encouragement and joy and not words of bitterness and discontent. Don’t allow me to let Satan have a foothold by what I say. Help me to frustrate his schemes to create chaos in my life and in the church. May you be glorified in all that I say and do. Amen.
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37).