“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:14-15 ESV)
“I don’t wanna.” “That’s too hard.” “Why do I have to?” “Nobody knows how hard I have it!”
Are these phrases you find yourself using often? If you’re a typical teenager, then it’s safe to say probably so. And even if it’s not these specific phrases, I bet you have several others that often fall into the category of grumbling, complaining or questioning.
In Philippians, Paul was writing to a group of people who loved the Lord but were having problems getting along with one another. He encouraged them several times to seek unity by being selfless and more concerned for others. One of the things he said to them was to avoid grumbling and questioning. You may not be thinking this is a unity issue, but think about the last time your Mom asked you to do something and you obeyed…but complained the whole time. Didn’t exactly put you and Mom on good terms, did it?
When we obey with a heart that is full of complaints or challenges to authority, it’s really not the kind of obedience God desires. Paul says that we are supposed to shine like lights in the middle of our dark world. But when we complain or grumble, it’s like putting a dark spot on our light! We’re technically doing right, but with a very wrong attitude. And that doesn’t make us very shiny.
In Philippians, Paul says that humble and selfless people actually make Christ look good to outsiders. He points out that when Christians complain or question authority, we don’t represent our Savior very well. In fact, we tend to look a lot more like the world when we do that. Why would anyone at your school notice something different about you if you complain about every assignment or disrespect your teachers constantly? Your witness is compromised by your grumbling mouth.
None of us is perfect, and sometimes complaints do slip out unwarranted, but it is a behavior we should seek to control. Are you known for your sharp mouth to your teachers, parents or friends? Do you and your parents go rounds because you are always questioning them or complaining about what they make you do? A complaining, disrespectful spirit is not one that honors Christ. If our goal is to make Him look good in this world, then we need to examine our actions, words and thoughts and make sure they honor Him. Complaining doesn’t do that. Neither does questioning authority.
If you struggle with this, you’re not alone! Ask the Lord to help you learn to control your attitude and become more gracious. It won’t be an overnight change, but if you begin making a conscious effort to stop complaining you might just be surprised how many people notice!