Revive Me, Week 7– Stop Complaining

Revive Me, Week 7– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Stop Complaining

“Stop”- to not do something that you have been doing before; to not continue doing something

That little reminder of the definition of “stop” is for myself.  I admit this challenge will be tough for me.  I don’t like to think of myself as a whiner or negative person and yet I realize that I have found ways to complain anyway.  I certainly have tried to justify it.

If I only complain to my husband, it doesn’t really count.

If I have a legitimate cause for complaint, surely it’s understandable.

I think I’ve even figured out how to disguise complaints.  I can word them in such a way that makes it sound like I’m only asking a question.  But complaining is complaining.  What’s the big deal?  Well, when I take the time to focus on Scriptures about complaining, I see that God thinks it’s a big deal.

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord, and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled…” (Num. 11:1).

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Phil. 2:14).

“Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged” (James 5:9).

“Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Pet. 4:9).

In 1 Cor. 10, we read that God was not “well-pleased” with the Israelites.  “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved” (v. 6).  What “evil things” did they crave?  While they were in the wilderness, they were guilty of idolatry, immorality, and complaining.  “Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction…” (v. 10,11).  Twice in the text Paul writes that the behavior of the Israelites and their consequences are an example for us.  Is complaining really as bad as idolatry and immorality?  Yikes.  

I’m ready to remove complaining from my speech and my mind.  I’m ready to nip it in the bud.  I want need to set a better example for my husband, my sons, and anyone else who is around when I open my mouth.  I don’t want to sound like the world.  Even more than that, I realize that complaining comes from discontentment and ingratitude.  God’s children are the most blessed in this life and have still more to come in the next.  How can I waste my breath grumbling when there’s so much for which to rejoice?

Challenges for the week:

  1.  “Go 24 hours without complaining (not even once).  Then watch how your life starts changing” (Katrina Mayer).  Complaining is a habit.  Take the challenge, one day at a time!
  2.  Tell someone that you’re trying to kick the complaining habit.  Ask them to help catch you when you gripe.
  3.  Keep an index card in your pocket.  Every time you complain, make a tally mark.  See how you do at the end of each day.  Hopefully your marks will get fewer and fewer as you learn to catch yourself.
  4. Replace complaining with blessing counting.  When you think a complaint, voice a blessing instead.
  5. Read this excellent and convicting article by Erynn Sprouse.

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If Complaining is Your Weakness…

Discontentment can rear its ugly head in multiple areas of our lives.  If only I had a bigger house.  If only my spouse would try harder.  I wish our church members were different.  No one understands me.  I’m the only one doing all the work.  When these types of thoughts take root in our hearts, the words coming out of our mouths sound more and more like complaints.

Why complain about what we don’t have?  We should be content with what the Lord has given us.  Why complain about someone else’s character?  Everyone else can observe it as well as we can.  Why complain about the state of our nation?  The world hears enough of that, and we’re trying to draw others to Christ.  Does complaining attract or repel?  Why complain about the shortcomings of the Lord’s church?  It seems like we should spend more time voicing the blessings of being in God’s family so our coworkers and neighbors will want to know more about it.

Oh, I am stepping ALL OVER my toes.  So if complaining is a weakness of yours as well, here is a little list of quotes and Scriptures to print and post.  May we all use our tongues to spread the grace and love of Jesus Christ in 2014.

  • “Go 24 hours without complaining (not even once).  Then watch how your life starts changing.”  (Katrina Mayer)
  • Do ALL things without complaining or disputing” (Phil. 2:14).
  • Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).
  • “But let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!”  (Henry Ward Beecher)
  • Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned” (James 5:9).
  • “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
  • Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused” (Num. 11:1).
  • Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted…nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Cor. 10:6-11).
  • “It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen)
  • “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
  • Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Pet. 4:9).
  •  “Had we not faults of our own, we should take less pleasure in complaining of others.”  (Francois Fenelon)
  • “Ultimately, all our complaints are directed against God.”  (Woodrow Kroll)
  • Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Prayer for Today:  May I strive to be more like Your Son who, even when oppressed and afflicted, ‘opened not His mouth.’