Joyful not Complaining (Phil. 2:14-15)

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,

What a great verse to teach our kids!  What a great verse for adults. What a great verse to memorize.


A man joined a remote monastery deep in the woods followed a rigid vow of silence.  Their vow could only be broken once a year.  That monk could speak only two words. He went in after one year of being there and to see the Abbot and said, “Bed Hard” 365 days later he got to speak again he went in to see the Abbot and said, “Food Bad” 365 days later he got to speak again he went in to see the Abbot and said, “I quit” The abbot said, “That doesn’t surprise me! You’ve done nothing but complain the whole time you’ve been here!”

Ever been around people who thought they were holy, mature believers but were actually just cantankerous? We only wish their complaints were two words! Cantankerous is not holy or mature but immature.  When our children argue and whine do we say, how mature you are!  No we say, grow up you brat!
Just like the two little boys who were standing outside the church as they watched a long-faced preacher arguing with a sourpuss member…Said one boy to the other, “Man, if that’s what 30 years of Christianity will do for you, I want out NOW!”

I know this sounds pretty basic but I believe that 90% of the problems facing the church would be solved if we would stop complaining get unified about reaching people for Christ.

Churches waste so much energy thinking and acting in ways that cut each other down and doubt each other and question each other – instead they need to rally to each other, helping and working together for the common purpose of loving God, loving people and sharing Jesus.

We all need to be reminded that complaining is not acceptable, not mature and not helpful.

Complaining translates from a word that describes a bad attitude which expresses itself in constant grumbling. The Israelites constantly grumbled in the wilderness, and God judged them for it (see Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:1-5, 10).

The word for arguing has a legal connotation and may refer to the Philippian Christians going to civil courts to settle their differences, an action Paul condemned elsewhere (1 Corinthians 6:1-11). Their arguments may have stemmed from the Philippians’ pride in their achievements, which Paul denounced in 2:3. It was popular among the Aristotelian philosophers around Philippi to impress others with their accomplishments; the Christians were not to act that way.

Why are complaining and arguing so harmful? First, they are completely opposite of Christ’s attitude (2:5-8), which believers are to emulate. Second, they hurt Christ’s cause among unbelievers. If all that people know about a church is that its members constantly argue, complain, and gossip, they get a bad impression of Christ and the gospel. Unbelievers then feel justified in criticizing the Christians. Third, probably more churches have split from causes related to arguing and complaining than from heresy.

 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life

Paul explained the importance of the believers’ actions—they needed to clean up their act in order to fulfill their mission of spreading the gospel. Paul’s advice for their “housecleaning” is summed up in two words.

First, the church ought to be blameless, meaning beyond reproach, incurring no justifiable criticism. This does not mean sinless perfection; instead, the church was to be beyond the criticism of the unbelieving world. Second, the church ought to be pure (also translated “innocent”). The Greek word akeraioi was used to describe wine that had not been diluted or metal that had no weakening alloys.

When a body of believers remains pure and blameless, the contrast with their culture is so stark that it is as if they shine like stars. They bring the light of truth into the darkness of depravity, as stars light up the darkness of the night. Indeed, Jesus told those who believe in him: “You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,)

  When I chose NOT to complain I will:

 Be appreciated for not causing trouble

This means that when you don’t complain, you make things so much easier. You are liked.  You may know that I coached soccer when Kaleb was young. My first year coaching the director told me I have a “trouble making mom” “Thanks for the heads up.”  I said.  We are all volunteers and its sad that someone who will not be involved but complains about those who are makes life difficult for everyone.  I loved and appreciated the parents that are supportive but when this mom comes up in conversation from others because of her reputation, many of us dreaded anything she may say.  Do you cause joy or dread by your behavior?  When we choose not to complain, we are appreciated.

  • Have Integrity

Non-complainers are people of integrity.

  • Truly represent God as his child

When we complain and argue we are not good children of God we are more like “BRATS OF GOD” or “children of the devil”

  • Stand out like a light in darkness

We are told to “shine like stars.” You may remember the song we learned as children “This little light of mine, I am going to shine.” But the truth is greater than that, we are not called to be “little lights” we are called to be “bold, blazing, life giving, STARS!!!

But one thing is for sure, “The Grumbling has got to go before the shining can start!” We don’t need to be shout or scream or make a scene we just need to shine. We do that by living a life free of complaining and disputing.
Our culture is so negative, so dark.  When I choose to not complain the contrast is obvious.  You will shine like a star in the middle of a dark night.  We will stand out as truly different to not be a complainer, to not be critical, to not be a put-down person, when you become that, you will shine like a star.

The name given to the brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, of the constellation Canis Major. The brightest star in the day sky is the sun. Paul drew a lesson from the night sky when he compared Christians to stars and society to the empty blackness of the universe. It is a bleak and barren skyscape at night, except for the light of stars. Christians are to live as lights in a dark world, shining witnesses to God’s truth.

Our lives should be characterized by moral purity, patience, and peacefulness, so that we will “shine like stars” in a dark and depraved world. A transformed life is an effective witness to the power of God’s Word. Are you shining brightly, or are you clouded by complaining and arguing? Let’s not let dissensions snuff out our light! Shine out for God.



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About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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