Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Because you didn't get enough last week...

For those of you who read through my post about complaining a few days ago, I wanted to write about what our pastor talked about regarding those same verses this past Sunday.

Either later today or tomorrow I'm going to post about the two new recipes I tried, so check back for that.

You know the two points we focused on in our life group when discussing the verses Philippians 2:14-15. Our pastor mainly focused on something else that I want to follow up on. He did talk about how complaining is always our fault - we complain, sometimes to place blame on something or someone else that is just ruining our day, but it's always our fault:

James 4:1-2 - "What causes fights & quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill & you covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel & fight."

(Again, I must reiterate, it absolutely makes me sick how selfish we really are. We think SO HIGHLY of ourselves that we must complain when things don't go our way!)

But what he spent most of his time talking about is what happens when we DON'T complain (because since the Bible says not to do it; usually good things happen when we are obedient; so God has a purpose for telling us not to complain).

First, we look very very different from the world when we don't complain. Everybody complains. It can even help "bond" people, if there is nothing else to talk about - complain about something ("can you BELIEVE this heat??" "my husband did this thing again, ugh, men!", etc). So not complaining makes us stand out, which is what we're going for - not looking like the world, but looking like Jesus. Accepting situations & thanking Jesus for how good He is - IMAGINE the stares!!

A few other points... God is able to work & receive glory when we don't complain. Taking our eyes off ourselves lets God use us! I'm sure you have noticed, as I have, that when we are being selfish, we create a bit of a barrier for God to work.

I become aware of what God is doing - again, that whole taking-our-eyes-off-ourselves thing, & being aware of the conditions & needs of others shows us what God is doing or wants to do around & through you.

I will experience the presence of the Holy Spirit when I don't complain. It's hard to be selfless, & it's hard not to complain, since it's our nature to do so. But when we fight that nature & obey the call of God on our lives, we experience joy & peace & realize how good He is!

At church we all got bracelets to wear to help us not to complain . When we find ourselves complaining, we are to change the bracelet from one wrist to the next. It's a 21-day challenge. I'm hoping those three weeks will train me to become aware of when I am tempted to complain, & be able to take my selfish thoughts & throw them out the window (or my ear, that being the gateway to my head, to make that metaphor work literally... oh but metaphors aren't literal? Hm).

Note: this is in no way a "positive thinking" thing, like many worldly self-help programs. It's important to know the scripture & do what it takes to become obedient to it. & that's it.

I hope you'll try to stop complaining with me!

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