Phil 2 : 14, 15 Do everything without complaining or arguing…. That you may show yourselves to be ….. children of God…. in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation ….among whom you are seen as bright lights ….in the [dark] world.

1 Thess 5:19 – Do not quench the spirit.

School started 3 weeks ago and so did my complaining.  I wasn’t aware of it until I read Oswald Chambers on August 30th.  He said that where we are in life is where God has purposefully flung us.  He continued his point by saying that our circumstances don’t matter; it’s our reaction that counts, that we fulfill God’s purpose for us as long as we walk with him in the light and don’t quench or suppress that light.

This startled me in several ways.  First, I hadn’t been aware that I was complaining.   So my first response was to acknowledge how much I had indeed been grumbling, inside.  Second, after some reflection, I did see how the circumstances of our lives are just the background, the scenery.  How we respond is the main action or event.  Finally, I was led to see that EVERYONE is watching to see how I will react to unpleasant circumstances – the spirit world and humans, both other believers and non-believers.  Much is at stake by how I respond to the circumstances.

God kept shining an uncomfortable light on my poor attitude which was turning out to be a spirit of inner discontent, dialogue and criticism of how things are. (It shouldn’t be that I have to ……).  Once God brought this to my attention, I repented of course.  That’s the end of that, I innocently thought.  Wrong!!!  I continued to winge.  For 2 solid weeks.

And my joy evaporated as did my peace, my thankfulness and my love for others.

In fact, today, during Pete’s sermon at church, I realize that when I complain about the present or worry about the future, that ALL my fruit rots. (Galatians 5:22, 23 – …..Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.)  Thank the good Lord for the gift of constant repentance and forgiveness.

While Pete preached, God further showed me that when I’m in a stinky state, I don’t look any different from a pagan.  It’s the NORM to complain when things don’t go our way.  When Christians DON’T gripe, then they stand out as VERY different from the general population.   Our ‘light’ can then be an entrée or opening as a witness to what God enables us to do because we’ve been born anew.

One other costly consequence of rehearsing one’s dissatisfaction and frustration with circumstances is that we cut off the power of the HS in us.  Mike used to have a motorcycle.  When his gas tank would run empty, the bike would shut off.  Technically with the littlest of motorized bikes, one can pedal.  I picture our grumbling like an automatic shutoff valve.  In essence God is saying, “Maria, you don’t like where I have placed you?  You think you should be somewhere else or be doing life a different way?  Have at it, WITHOUT the power of the HS.  Pedal that motorcycle all you want, in your own strength.”

No, Lord, I repent.  Come back HS.  I need you every minute.  Help me catch my thoughts before I start to be negative.  Nothing is happening to me that you haven’t planned for my own good.  So I can relax and trust that I have all I need to walk in your power, in your name, even in circumstances I don’t like.  I can even thank you for what you are doing in me with your power.

Paul stresses this point twice to the Colossians:

3:17 – And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.