We complain because of the wrong ideas we have about life. We’ve looked at two of these ideas already. Let’s look at a third one and see if we can reduce our grumbling quotient even more.

3. I’VE GOT EVERY RIGHT TO COMPLAIN!  Notice what the Israelites complained about in the Desert of Shur and Sin: they complained about not having any food or water. That, brethren, is a legitimate need. We all need food and water. Without it we die. If they complained about lesser things—for example, about not being able to swim, or not being accepted on the football team, or having to drive a full half-an-hour just to get to a Walmart; we wouldn’t be as sympathetic towards them. We can live without swimming, football, or Walmart. But not having any food or water is a different story altogether and we’re inclined to side in with the Israelites in their complaints. The object of the people’s complaints, I’m saying, was valid. What they were complaining about was legitimate. And in our eyes, valid concerns make valid complaints. It’s not wrong to complain about the right things! So we think.

But the thing that I’d like for you to understand is this. God doesn’t want us to complain about anything. Philippians 2:14 exhorts us, Do all things without murmurings and disputings. God, dear brethren, doesn’t want us to complain about anything. Valid   concerns   don’t   make   valid   complaints. Just because you’re complaining for the right things or the right reasons doesn’t make complaining right. Even when valid, legitimate needs are involved—like food or water, or in our day, a job, house, or car; valid, legitimate needs do not legitimize or justify complaining.

You see, as long as you think a valid complaint makes complaining valid, you will never quit complaining. You won’t see anything wrong with complaining: the complaint is valid because a valid need is involved. And as long as you justify and legitimize complaining, you won’t give it up. To live without complaining you’ve got to see that all complaining—for whatever reason, in whatever trial or circumstance—is wrong. It’s sinful. And God doesn’t want us to do it. Complaining just isn’t the way to respond to our trials!

So what are we supposed to do when we don’t like the way things are going? PERSEVERE AND PRAY INSTEAD OF POUT! God promised us that we’d have trials on this desert journey through the wilderness of this world. So He knows we’re going to have legitimate needs and valid concerns. That’s why He also promised to protect us, provide for us, and help us. And the way we obtain His help is by asking Him in faith for whatever it is we need. (Matthew 7:7, 21:22). And if He chooses not to respond right away, we need to persevere and endure until He does (James 1:2-4). He even promised to give us all the grace we need to persevere (Hebrews 4:16). So chin up. Keep a tight lid on your lip. God is an ever-present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 7. The relationship between our words and our thoughts. Stay with me. We’re just about done!

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