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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Friday-Are You Kidding?

 

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

 

Philippians 2:14,15

 

When I read the first five words, I just want to freak out, throw this page away, and move on with my life. It’s so not me. After all, I’ve practiced and perfected grumbling and arguing for most of my life.

 

Some people were raised on a farm. Some people were raised in the city. Some people were raised eating oatmeal. Some people were raised in a foreign country. Me, I was raised in the land of grumbling and arguing.

 

My parents were masters at grumbling and arguing. They both had advanced degrees with diplomas on the walls in grumbling and arguing. If there had been a professional grumbling and arguing league, they’d be in the playoffs each and every year. They came from families that practiced grumbling and arguing unto perfection.

 

When I first took Mary Ann to one of our family Christmas gatherings, I could see the look of utter and complete shock on her face. The yelling. The screaming. The verbal abuse. The cursing by my aunts and uncles. My aunts in particular had a unique style and vocabulary that good taste and censorship prevents me from repeating here. But you can be sure that it was very colorful. Feel free to fantasize about what they said.

 

But Paul’s not talking about some arguments that they had in the past. He’s not pointing out something that happened a long time ago. Of no. He’s commanding the Philippians not to argue and grumble right now. He’s talking about how they’re arguing and grumbling right now. So, what’s the difference between grumbling and arguing?

 

  • Grumbling – This is not yelling and screaming. It’s more passive. Think about when you mutter under your breath. When you whisper to someone. Or you text someone. This is where the seeds of suspicions and doubts are spread. Grumbling happens when you take your first shots against someone. If you keep grumbling, it almost never stops there. It gets louder and more personal.

  • Arguing – Now it’s out in the open. The grumbling that was just whispers has grown into all-out, public arguing. All the suspicions and doubts are said in public. Shouted from the housetops. Publicly posted on social media. Your ready, willing, and about to talk to anyone and everyone who’ll listen. And even people just passing by hear it.

 

Yes, the Philippians were grumbling and arguing. And what’s the results of all this stuff going on in their lives? They had lost being blameless and pure. They were no longer free from fault in their lives. They had mixed impure words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes into their live.

 

We need to know that the Philippians were still blameless and pure before their God. The once and for all sacrifice of Jesus on the cross still covered all their sins; past, present, and future[1]. They had not “lost” their salvation because it’s based on what God did and not what we do[2]. They were not just a new and improved version of themselves, they were completely and utterly new[3]

 

But all this grumbling and arguing had changed them and how people saw each other. They were becoming angry and bitter towards one another. They were no longer living in peace as a community of believers. They were no longer following what Jesus had told us to do.

 

And you can’t hide this. People outside the church quickly pick up on this and rightly make a big deal out of it. Christians are to be so very different from the warped and crooked generation that they live within. But to the world, they just look like everyone else. Jesus wants us to be oh so very different from the world we live in.

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

 

John 13:34,35

 

I don’t know about you, but this sure hits home. Every time there’s an argument between Christians, world is going to sink their teeth into it. It’s going to be blasted in the news, on every possible website and social media platform. They’re going to make it into a story that goes around the world.

 

Did you notice that Paul instructed the Philippians, and us, to do everything without grumbling or arguing? And everything means just what it says. Everything. The last time I checked, everything includes everything I do and say. All my words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes are to be done without any grumbling or arguing. Humanly impossible you say. Yes. But with Jesus, all things are possible. There isn’t a single change in our lives that God can’t empower. And I’m not kidding about that.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • How easy is it to start grumbling and arguing? Why?

  • Are grumbling and arguing how you look at life? How did it start?

  • Why is loving one another not possible while grumbling and arguing?


[1] Ephesians 1:7

[2] Ephesians 2:8,9

[3] 2 Corinthians 5L17

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