Complaining is easy to do. From being dissatisfied at work, unhappy at home, or frustrated with your church, there’s an endless list of ways you may be tempted to complain.
The kids always argue.
I can’t believe they gave my colleague a promotion.
The coffee is too hot at church.
The way we used to do things was better.
Why won’t my congregation listen?
We can blame our fixation with complaining in general on culture or social media. But the temptation to be discontent and complain can be traced back to Genesis 3.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to be discontent in what they had, and Adam complained about Eve and blamed everything on her (Gen. 3:12).
Today, according to research, "most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation.” This amount of complaining not only makes conversations unpleasant, but it also has adverse health effects, and, most importantly of all, complaining expresses discontentment with God.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I struggle with complaining. I’ve had to seek forgiveness from the Lord many times, and I continually need his help in redirecting my desires.
Over the years, I’ve found many helpful ways to kill my sin of complaining when it blossoms like an unwelcome weed, and I’d like to share them with you today.
#1. You will have trouble
“In the world you will have tribulation.” —John 16:33
If you’ve lived long enough, then you know that you’ll face a variety of problems, setbacks, or hardships. Life isn’t easy, and faith in Jesus doesn’t give you a “Go Directly to Glory” pass where you'll live outside of the reach of any struggle.
Regardless of the technological, scientific, or healthcare advancements we’ve made, we are still vulnerable to everyday problems, extreme weather, and dangerous bacteria.
My aim in telling you this isn’t to make your day go from bad to worst. I desire to wave a smelling salt under your nose to wake you up to the reality all of us face: We will face problems, and we need help.
#2. You will be tempted to complain
“Do all things without grumbling… “ —Philippians 2:14
I don’t know about you, but I’m often tempted to complain when things don’t go my way. From an argument with my wife, a setback at work, or trouble with my children, I’m inclined to grumble about things.
It’s not my fault.
Why do they always do this? What’s their problem?
Ugh, I can’t believe this didn’t work out. Things will never change.
It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of grumbling about things and people. Events in life can slowly lead you to have a negative; my glass is half-empty point of view and a belief that God isn’t for you.
As a follower of Christ, there’s a way you can complain or grumble in a sinful manner that undermines God’s goodness and faithfulness toward you. And there’s a way you can faithfully express your complaints to God, and ask for his mercy (see Psa. 142:1-2).
To have God’s perspective on what’s going on in our life, we have to renew our mind (Rom. 12:1-2) and see things from his point of view, which leads me to the next three points.
#3. God is faithful
“Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” —Matthew 6:8
When you run into trouble of any sort, it’s easy to get distracted by what you see and forget about God’s faithfulness.
Today, whenever you find yourself reading this article, God knows what you need now and what you will need tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
God isn't distant.
God isn’t aloof.
God didn’t forget about you.
Heed the words of Christ, who said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matt. 6:26).
God has been faithful to his people throughout history, and, if you take a moment to think about your life, I know you’ll be able to identify many ways God has faithfully taken care of you—especially in revealing himself to you in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So be encouraged.
God is faithful, and he will be faithful to you.
#4. God is with you
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” —Psalm 46:1
God is personally involved in your life.
You may believe in the depths of your soul that God is more interested in what’s going on around the world. But don’t believe this lie. Regardless of the troubles you’ve faced or will face; God is present with you.
When you feel discouraged or disappointed, or you’re facing what appears to be insurmountable odds, God is with you, and he is always available for you.
Instead of trusting in yourself, listen to the words of Jesus, who is calling you, “Come to me, all how labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
#5. Trust in the Lord
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” —John 14:1
The verse above is not a suggestion from Jesus, it’s a command, and this may be precisely what you need to hear today.
Jesus knows you feel disappointment.
Jesus understands your anger.
Jesus gets your frustrations.
In the words of the author of Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Have you carried the burdens of life by yourself?
Is your heart troubled by the struggles you face?
Don’t hide from the Lord. Place your faith in Christ, trust that he will provide for you, and receive the peace that only he can provide.
What have you found helpful in combatting complaining in your life? Share your experience in the comments below!