Sunday, December 19, 2010

Contentment Day 6: Are you still Complaining??

Philippians 2:14-16
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars int he universe...

If you are joining us for the first time- you're catching us on day 6 of a 12 days series on contentment.  Each day we have uncovered one step toward achieving a content life.  Day by day we've seen the secrets to contentment that Paul learned in his journey of faith.

Today we look at a difficult passage.  It's a difficult passage because it's something that each one of us struggles with on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.  Complaining.

I have a friend who truly complains about everything.  He has a beautiful house, wonderful wife and child, a steady job and is in good health...but you'd never believe it by talking to him.  Every conversation we have seems like a list of all the terrible things that are going on in his life.  So much so, that he's started actually believing that list.  His negative attitude has made it's way into his heart...and frankly, he's not much fun to be around.  

I read a book on contentment by Linda Dillow.  In her book she talks about a missionary woman who passed away after many fruitful years of ministry in Africa.  She had lived a full life, serving God in the hundred-degree, no air-condition, jungles wih very miserable living conditions.  After she died her daughter found hidden deep in her journal what she called the "Prescription to Contentment":

-Never allow yourself to complain about anything-not even the weather.
-Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
-Never compare your lot with another's.
-Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
-Never dwell on tomorrow-remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.
I love this list because it perfectly describes all the things that tend to drag us into the pit of discontent.  Just like my friend, the reality is, that which we fill our minds with will eventually seep into our hearts.  The toxic seeds of complaining will eventually take root in our lives and we will find ourselves living in a forest of despair, misery, and depression.  

Another reason I appreciate this prescription to contentment is because it points out some of the things we as believers do so innocently sometimes.  I mean, who of us hasn't complained about the weather?  The list could go on and on.  
The truth of the matter is, each one of our lives are filled with both positives and negatives.... complaining is simply the habit of choosing to spot-light those negatives, magnifying them to ourselves and to those around us.  In other words, it's the prescription for pain. 

Not only are we left in a state of misery, when we allow our mouths to complain we are portraying our God in a misleading way.  We are failing to shine like starts in a depraved world, but rather, conforming to it. 

Take inventory.  Out of all the words you speak in a day: what is coming out of your mouth these days?  What are you sharing with the world around you?  It it something that will lift up and encourage others?  Or is it something that will plant the seeds of bitterness and discontent in your heart and the hearts of those around you? 

I'll be the first to's time for a major change. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Deb, I needed this reminder today! I really like the "Prescription to Contentment", it’s a keeper. May we learn to put in His hands each of the concerns weighing on our hearts knowing we can entrust them into His loving care because He is in control and He cares for us. Lord help me to talk to You about my concerns instead of complaining & to be content because You are enough.


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