Philippians 2:14-16 (NLT)
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
Life is busy. With the end of the school year nearing, students getting restless, changes being made and life continuing to get busier, I’m finding Philippians 2:14-16 ringing in my head. I was getting worn down with the amount of stress I felt on my body by day to day to do's. I started nitpicking at things and found myself complaining more and more. My heart was not in the right spot. I was more focused on how my day impacted me, rather than how I impacted my day.
As I wrestled with what this scripture looks like in my life, I took it as quite the challenge. “Do EVERYTHING without complaining.” My eyes grew three times their size when I read the word “EVERYTHING.” I began to chat with God about this one, and our conversation went something like this:
Me: “So God, you’re asking me to do EVERYTHING without complaining? Does this mean, even though I got minimal amounts of sleep the night before, I haven’t had my coffee, my students were extremely challenging today, and my to do list continues to grow, I need to be thankful for what you have given me and rejoice in your truth? This seems like such a huge calling!”
God: “Jen, I love you enough to die on the cross for all your sins so that you can have eternal life with me. I have given you life, and so yes, I’m asking you not to complain, so that no one can criticize you. Hold tightly to my truth. Get to know who I am. Take up your cross and follow me.”
There’s been a few times in my life where I felt God was literally looking me square in the face and giving me a specific instruction of what I needed to do. Talk about intense, but at the same time, I’m so thankful he shows up this way because he knows, at times, this is exactly what I need.
Once I started thinking about what it would look like to live without complaining, my outlook began to change. I began looking at things a little differently and found myself being more thankful. So maybe I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, but I’m thankful I have a house to sleep in. Maybe I didn’t have my coffee this morning, but I’m thankful I have food on the table each night. Maybe my students were challenging today, but I’m thankful I have a job I enjoy going to each day.
Each day brings it’s own challenges. I can’t remember one day that was completely the same as another. I find such beauty in the fact that we wake up each morning to a new day and a new beginning.
So here’s my challenge to you:
Pray about Philippians 2:14-16 and ask God what this looks like in your life. Start small and try taking a different approach rather than complaining, even if it’s just for an hour. Find whatever it is that you are complaining about and try to find the positive. I think you may be surprised that it’s easier than you think.
I would love to hear how God’s words spoke to you and changed your outlook and approach on a situation or on life! Feel free to share on our I Believe page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.