Devotional Thought of the Day:
10† We must not complain, as some of them did—and they were destroyed by the Angel of Death.
11 All these things happened to them as examples for others, and they were written down as a warning for us. For we live at a time when the end is about to come. 1 Cor 10:10-11 GNT
The word of God—primarily the gospel of his kingdom and of the life and death of Jesus on our behalf—enters our mind and brings new life through faith. As we open our entire life to this new power and to those sent by God to minister the word to us, the word moves into every part of our personality, just like the water and soap move through the shirt’s fibers. God’s word pushes out and replaces all that is false and opposed to his purposes in creating us and putting us in our unique place on earth.
What would facebook look like if we were able to filter out all of the posts that were complaints? What would it sound like to sit down and talk to people if there were no complaints uttered?
We complain about politics.
We complain about referee and umpires calls in sports.
We complain about the traffic on the way to work, or to the store
We complain about our bosses, the people we work with, our parents, our spouses, our children.
We complain that we haven’t had time for our coffee, and then complain that people want us to function without our daily dose of “happiness.” (Are we complaining about their complaints about our complaining?)
The Apostle Paul wrote that we must not complain, and this command sits not to far from a discussion on idolatry, and along with a discussion on sexual promiscuity and putting God to the test – both forms of self idolatry.
So is complaining idolatry, not much more than an adult form of a child’s temper tantrum. Yes. Because it boils down to our not getting things arranged our way. It calls into question our will and our wisdom, for if we are complaining, doesn’t it mean we think we know what is best?
What complaining is, when it comes down to it, is questioning God, and His ability and action. A complaint rests on the assumption that God isn’t providing what we need, and that the life He has called us to live is not sufficiently abundant.
But complaining is a national pastime it seems, if not an international one. (even as I write this, someone asked how I was doing, and I started complaining!) It is an ingrained part of our nature.
So ingrained we can’t stop ourselves….
We need help, we need to be transformed, we need to see the Spirit doing this transformation, as the word of God is used by the Holy Spirit to clean us, even at our deepest most internal points. The places were the sins of stain are so dark we can’t stand to look at them, the places where our narcissism doesn’t even attempt to hide.
God is there, cleansing us, transforming us. THe word and sacraments doing for us what we cannot do ourselves. what God has promised to do in our lives.
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NLT2)
This is our hope, the presence of God, using His word to cleanse us, as He declares us to be His holy people.
A people who live in awe of His love, so in awe we forget to complain about life around us…
Lord, help us to see Your love for us, revealed in the cross of Christ. Fill us with Your peace and glory, the abundant life You have promised. AMEN!
Willard, D., & Johnson, J. (2015). Hearing god through the year: a 365-day devotional. Westmont, IL: IVP Books.