On my way to church one morning I found myself zipping along at just the perfect speed, no cars were around and I was hitting all the green lights. Our Lord’s day was off to a wonderful start, until I ended up behind a car whose driver was going 10 miles under the speed limit. It only took seconds before I started complaining about it. This may seem like a very insignificant complaint, but as I examine my life I see that there has been more complaining than thanksgiving, more feelings of annoyance than contentment, and more sighs of frustration than praise.
Off the top of head I can think of a number of things I have complained about recently: how tired I am, how I don’t feel like cooking, how the kids leave their stuff all over the place, how the weather is not warm enough and how the dog keeps chewing stuff up. Nothing earth shattering, and yet all sinful.
And this is when I realize that my heart has wandered to a place where Jesus isn’t enough. Where his providence is not appreciated and his goodness is doubted.
An unthankful and complaining spirit is an abiding sin against God, and a cause of almost continual unhappiness; and yet how common such a spirit is. How prone we seem to be to forget the good that life knows, and remember and brood over its evil – to forget its joys, and think only of its sorrows – to forget thankfulness, and remember only to complain.
Every person on earth struggles with the sin of complaint. Some more than others. As a Christian I have to ask myself, if we have Jesus, do we need anything else? If we have been promised an inheritance more amazing and glorious than we can ever imagine, if this life is as fragile and fleeting as a vapor, what is a little cold weather, or a slow moving line at the grocery store, an old couch, or any other inconvenience in comparison?
We are called to do all things without complaining or grumbling (Phil. 2:15 ). All things! No exceptions. Ever.
And why are we to do all things without complaining?
Because a complainer raises her fists up against God himself, telling him that she is not satisfied with who God is and what he is doing in her life.
A complaining spirit shows that she does not see the wisdom of her Creator or the vast love of her Jesus.
A complainer’s words shouts loudly that Jesus is not enough, that she deserves something more, as well as something better.
So, how do I combat this discontent heart? By returning to Christ and the cross.
Christ and the Cross
At the cross the complainer sees that she deserves infinitely worse than what she is experiencing now.
At the cross the grumbler sees how ignorant she really is. Does she really understand all that Christ did for her in his life, death and resurrection? If she did her complaining would evaporate.
At the cross the quibbler finds humility, thankfulness, love, and every other quality that is missing because of the magnitude of the love and sacrifice of Jesus.
At the cross we come face to face with a Savior who not only poured out his blood for each and every complaint, but also poured into us his righteousness and power so that we can fight!
The more time that is spent at the cross the more I see that Jesus really is enough. In him we have all power to fight sin. In Him we have all joy available for everyday. In Him we have the forgiveness of every sin. In Him we have peace for every trial and strength for every hardship.
I have no reason to complain because in Christ I have everything I need and more.
It’s time to repent and immerse myself in the work and person of Jesus.
Checkout Thomas Watson’s book The Art of Divine Contentment for more on this.