Life doesn’t always work out just the way we planned it. Every day brings with it uncertainty, unexpected turn of events and unmet goals and wishes. Today, we are living in days of such rapid technology and luxury that it takes very little for us to start grumbling and complaining…the electricity going off, the weather changing, the internet slowing down… etc. I still remember having to go to the internet café every time I needed to check my e-mail. Now with Wi-Fi, things are pretty hi-fi.
Complaining is a natural thing for the human nature. The moment things don’t work the way we want it to, we can start complaining. It is so common that it really takes a revelation from the Holy Spirit to identify this nature in us and deliver us from it. Complaining is sin.
The root of complaining is really the heart behind it. It stems from a heart of unbelief. Complaining basically leaves God out of the picture.
CONSEQUENCES OF COMPLAINING
1) Complaining Makes God Angry
“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” (Num 11: 1)
Just in the preceding verses we read how God’s presence was over the camp and how He guided the people of Israel. They had the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Numbers 10:34-36). Immediately after experiencing such supernatural encounters, they complained. This made God so angry that he destroyed some people with fire.
2) Complaining Delays the Promises of God
The Israelites turned a 11-day journey into a 40-year nightmare. They constantly grumbled, murmured and complained about their circumstances. If you read their circumstances, they had genuine needs. They lacked basic necessities-water, food, meat and shelter. They even had women and children to care for. However, instead of bringing their requests to God with thanksgiving they repeatedly used words like why have you brought us out of Egypt, is it to kill us? We are going to die in the wilderness etc. (Read Ex 14:11, 12; 15:24; 16:3; 17:3). And that’s exactly what happened. They died in the wilderness. They got exactly what they said they would get. Did God really answer their complaints? Yes He did!!! He provided them food, water, meat, their clothes didn’t shrink, and their shoes grew with them!! But they didn’t live to enter the Promise Land. How much better it would have been if instead of complaining they had trusted the goodness of God who had carried them on eagle’s wings through the wilderness. History might have been rewritten!
3) Complaining Prevents Us from Continually Enjoying the Blessings of God
The chapter begins with how a Canaanite king heard that the Israelites were coming and he attacked them and took some Israelites as prisoners. Then the people sought God and the Lord answered their prayers and they wiped out the King of Arad and his cities. Immediately after this victorious battle they had to take a detour as Edomites refused to give them passage through their land. The people began to complain because the travel time was longer and the journey was tedious, (v5). Their circumstances were tough, very tough. They were roaming the desert with their wives and children with no sight of the Promised Land. With their situation, they had a right to complain!!!
They even complained about manna, the miraculous provision of food. Imagine food falling down from heaven every day. If it hadn’t been for the manna, they would have died long ago. At one point not very long ago, they were amazed by the supernatural provision of God. But now, they had gotten so used to manna that they no longer valued it and called it ‘worthless bread.’ Many times we get so familiar with God’s provisions that we take Him for granted and fail to honor and value what He has so generously given us.
4) Complaining Opens up A Door for the Enemy to Attack
As soon as they opened their mouths to complain, they were attacked by fiery serpents (v6). Many people died that day. Complaining opens up the door for the enemy to attack us. A few verses above they had just defeated an army of Canaanites, but the moment they started complaining they were prey to fiery serpents.
SO…WHATS THE SOLUTION?
STOP COMPLAINING START SHINING!
“Do ALL things WITHOUT complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, HOLDING FAST THE WORD OF LIFE.” (Phil 2:14, 15)
The antidote for complaining is the word of life. SPEAK THE WORD, not your facts. Speak the Word, not your current circumstances. Speak the Word, not your feelings. Speak the Word, not people’s opinions. When we speak the Word, we give the Holy Spirit an atmosphere to work.
Don’t Complain.COME PRAY!
When the apostles were called by the council of Jerusalem and were threatened for preaching the gospel, they got together and prayed. They didn’t complain and ask God to change their situation, instead they prayed for boldness to speak the Word. God immediately answered their prayer. The place they gathered shook, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.
Don’t Complain.COME PRAISE!
Paul and Silas are beaten for casting out an evil spirit and then thrown into a high security prison, their feet bound by chains. Their circumstances weren’t the most enviable. Again instead of grumbling they raise praises to God. God intervenes and supernaturally their circumstances changed. They are freed the next day.
Don’t Complain.COME PLAN!
Nehemiah heard about the wall of Jerusalem and the ruin of the City. He could have been complacent and complained about the lack of leadership in Israel. Instead he prayed, sought God and decided to do whatever he could do to change the situation. One man, Nehemiah, changed the destiny of the nation. He not only prayed but planned. Before he spoke to the king, he had already planned for requirements to get the wall built. He achieved what was considered impossible then; the wall was built in 52 days amidst stiff opposition and nagging threats.
Don’t Complain.COME PAY THE PRICE!
Nehemiah had a permanent job, good perks, retirement benefits, fixed deposit in the bank. He was connected to the royal family, in fact directly to the king. He left behind the luxury, safety and security of the palace and risked his own and his family members’ lives for obeying God. He paid a huge price to see the fulfillment of the prophetic Word. God honored him and eventually he became the governor of the land.
Many complain about the condition of the church, how powerless and prayer-less we have become, how church attendance is dropping etc. What would happen if every one of us would pray and do our part? Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). The Church is the Body of Christ. He is coming back for a glorious Church.
How will this happen? Not by might, nor by power but by the Spirit of the Lord.
So this New Year lets resolve to ‘STOP COMPLAINING’ and ‘START SPEAKING’ The Word of Life. Let’s strive to become a No-Complain Zone!!