In Philippians 2:14-16 Paul instructed Christians:
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, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (NKJV)
I posted all three verses because I hate posting incomplete sentences. But I really want us to focus on the first part of that passage: “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”
Parents might find this to be a helpful verse as they teach their children obedience, but this verse isn’t just child’s play. Paul wrote this to adults.
And so, it’s something we grownups also need to heed. That got me to thinking…how can a Christian follow Paul’s command and do things without complaining and disputing? After all, nobody likes everything they have to do in life. There’s no sugarcoating the fact that some things we have to do aren’t fun or pleasant.
It seems to me we can employ one or more of the following tactics to help us…
1. Improve your attitude. Usually we are as happy as we make up our minds to be. If you decide to approach a task with a positive attitude, you’ll usually be successful.
2. Speak up–respectfully–when something bothers you. Instead of being bothered by something and keeping it to yourself or muttering under your breath, you can talk to the person who requested something of you and let them know what the issue is.
3. Respect authority. Sometimes in your work you’ll be asked to do something by a superior that you’d rather not do, but it’s your job and they have the right to request and expect it. Instead of murmuring or backbiting, respect their authority and carry on.
If Jesus urged the Jews to go two miles when a Roman compelled them to go one, we can find it in ourselves to respect authority and honor Paul’s instruction.
Side note: Nothing in the above point is meant to suggest that Christians are ever obligated to do what their boss says if the boss is compelling them to violate Scripture. We’re talking of things that a superior has the right to expect from us, but it’s not something we love doing.
4. Be selective. Sometimes we stretch ourselves thin because we aren’t careful about how we use our time, and end up committing to too much. This is a recipe for exhaustion and a foul mood.
If you can’t do the thing you’re doing without grumbling about it, is it possible it’s a self-inflicted wound? Something you chose to do, even though you knew it would be hard to fit it in? If so, choose more carefully about what you commit to.
We all have limited resources, and you’re not doing much good if you grumble and complain the whole time you’re doing something anyway.
5. Stop being dramatic. Some people grumble and complain because they get some degree of enjoyment out of their misery. If you catch yourself grumbling simply because it feels good to grumble, remind yourself that it’s more important to honor God’s word than indulge in drama.
By embracing the things we have to do, and performing them without disputing and complaining, we can glorify God and “shine as lights in the world.”
Give it some thought,