No Complaining Allowed
I read a true story recently about a woman who actually complained to the government that the extra hour of sunlight during Daylight Savings Time was burning up her lawn. There are two things I'd like to point out from this. First, this woman evidently loved her lawn to an extreme measure, or she wouldn't have filed the complaint. Second, she was obviously confused about the facts. Although the government is responsible for Daylight Savings Time, most folks understand that moving our clocks forward or backward one hour doesn't actually change the number of hours of sunlight!

Perhaps you're thinking to yourself: "What a ridiculous thing to complain about!" Well, I would agree. However, when you think about it, aren't many of the things we complain about ridiculous? Why do people complain? Is it not because they--like this woman--think their rights are being violated in some way? Indeed. Like this woman, most complainers are also confused about the facts. They grumble and moan about trivial matters, and friends, the Lord is not pleased.

I've observed that many Christians (myself included) have great difficulty obeying the command found in Philippians 2:14, which says - "Do all things without complaining and disputing." That's right; such is a command from God! Paul is not making a mere suggestion for Christians to consider. He doesn't say that it is acceptable to complain a little or occasionally, of which most are probably guilty. He basically says: No complaining allowed--period! "Do all things without complaining and disputing."

Let's spend a moment considering just how serious complaining is to God; let's try to understand how much He hates it. I can't think of a better illustration than that of the Israelites under Moses' leadership. The Israelites were richly blessed in so many ways. They had so much to be thankful for, but when problems arose they seemed to immediately grumble and murmur. They grumbled as Pharaoh drew near to them at the Red Sea (Exo. 14:10,11). They complained in the wilderness on several occasions when water was difficult to find (Exo. 15:22-24; 17:1-3). They murmured repeatedly against Moses and Aaron when they got hungry or became dissatisfied with manna (Exo. 16:2,3; Num. 11:1-6). They complained about the giants in the land of Canaan and how it would have been better for them to die in Egypt or the wilderness than at the hand of the Canaanites (Num. 14:1-5). The Lord punished these complainers in several ways, and in an extreme way in Numbers 14:22, where He said - "Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times [primarily by means of their complaining, -SRB], and have not heeded my voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it." How tragic!

The faith of those complaining Israelites was small, and they were a rather selfish bunch. Sadly, it sounds all too familiar. The Lord blesses us so richly today. We have so much for which to be thankful. However, many seem to focus on the negative and desire to point out the worst in everything. God is angered by such, and some today will not see the Promised Land because of such attitudes. The root of the problem is selfishness. People who complain haven't completely died to themselves! After all, dead men don't complain, do they? Is it not the case that Christians are to die to self and live for Christ? Absolutely (Matt. 16:24; Gal. 2:20). Dear listeners, please think on these things. If you're a complainer, you'd better change. Not only are you disobeying the Lord and displeasing Him, but you're also showing immaturity and a lack of total commitment to His cause. If you're really living for Christ, why complain about mistreatment or your rights being violated?

Let us conclude by reading the fuller context of Paul's thoughts in Philippians 2 - "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain" (Phil. 2:14-16).