January 10, 2012

Whine, Whine, Whine

The other day our pastor was preaching from Philippians 2 & the idea of "working out" our salvation & faith in Jesus Christ. The point of the message was that God has done a work in us, but we have a responsibility to work what God has done in us out through our life. As I was looking at this passage, I was struck by the fact that immediately following this instruction to "work out our faith" is the command, "Do everything without complaining or arguing..."

Could it be that our level of complaining & arguing & what we choose to whine & complain about is an indicator of how spiritual growth & maturity? After all, Paul goes on to say that the result of cutting out the whining & complaining is that we become "blameless & pure" & that we "shine like stars in the universe."

So why is this important? How does this really have any impact on our spiritual maturity? Here are a couple of my thoughts:

1) Whining, Complaining, & Arguing Is Usually An Indicator Of Selfishness
Sure, there are times when speaking up & pointing out something is not only right, it's necessary. However, my own experience & the experience of some people I recently talked to about this is that we complain about mostly meaningless stuff that our complaining won't change anyway. We just don't like it, so we let everyone know we don't like it. What that communicates is that everything is about what we want, & that's selfish. And I'm pretty sure that selfishness is the antithesis of Christ-likeness. So if we're known as a whiner or complainer, there's a good chance we are not growing in our faith.

2) It's Just A Waste Of Energy
Think about it, of all the things that you & I have ever whined & complained about, how often did we really end up getting our way? Everybody I've asked that questions to said they couldn't really remember a single instance where incessant complaining got them what they wanted. That tells me one of two things. First, what we put so much time & energy into complaining about was so insignificant that we don't even remember our "victory" when we got what we wanted. Secondly, our whining doesn't really work, & eventually we have to just learn to live with a situation or decision we're not crazy about. Why not put our energy into learning to live with it on the front end? After all, weeks, months, & years from now we won't remember it because it wasn't really that significant, & there's a good chance we're going to have to learn to live with it anyway. Why waste the time & energy? As believers we've been called to an urgent mission to advance the Kingdom. We need to make sure that when we speak up against something that it doesn't end up distracting us from that mission.

So maybe Paul was actually on to something. Maybe our willingness to let things go & a willingness to not always have to have our way is a major mark of growth as a follower of Jesus. And as a result, we are used by God to shine like stars in the middle of the darkest darkness imaginable.

No comments: