Have you ever studied the Word of God; and God brought great conviction upon your heart? Yesterday, while I was studying Jeremiah, God convicted me of something that I hadn’t thought about in a while.
The Book of Jeremiah is full of contrasts, disappointments, tears, God’s judgment, God’s love and future prophecy. In Jeremiah 20, Jeremiah experiences forty lashes from a whip. He also is tortured throughout the night in a public setting. He is ridiculed and hated because of his proclamation of God’s Word.
While studying this portion of scripture, I became convicted about my life. “Have I ever suffered like Jeremiah?” “Why do I complain so much?” I was deeply convicted that I often fall into the trap of a complaining spirit. I complain about circumstances, demands upon my time, people, the weather and many other matters. How can I enjoy God’s presence and complain at the same time?
God knows that many of us struggle with a complaining heart. He tells us “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Philippians 2:14,15) My complaining spirit not only affects my relationship with God, but also with others. How can I minister to others about God’s love, wisdom, and faithfulness, when inside my heart, I have a complaining spirit?
Paul understood the antidote to a complaining spirit when he wrote these words while in prison. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:11,12) Paul didn’t complain because he knew that God had given unto him all that he needed for his present happiness. Paul had the presence of God!
When I look at what others have suffered or are suffering, why should I complain? My complaining spirit is a sign of selfishness. It is also a sign that I am not content in all that I have in Jesus Christ.
“Dear Lord, thank you for convicting me of my complaining spirit. In your Word, I see so many who followed you without complaining. They suffered greatly for you and your cause. Thank you for their testimony that shows me that I can live my life without complaining. Help me, to see your presence in every circumstance, every task, and every social encounter. Thank you for your loving-kindness in convicting me of this sin. Amen”