Others Devotional, volume 27
Grumbling or Gratitude by Jeremy Lyzenga
Scripture: “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’” Philippians 2:14-15
Life is full of things we do not want to do. It seems like it is our natural inclination when we are confronted with those things is to whine, argue, and complain. We’re all guilty of it. But, honestly, what does this accomplish? 99% of the time you’re still going to end up doing that thing you don’t want to do anyways. Your homework? Go to that meeting? Help a friend move on the weekend?
Our main theme for this year is really a challenge to humility and sacrifice. It is a call to live the same kind of life that Jesus lived. If we read on in the Philippians 2 passage, we see a description of what Jesus actually did, and the result of his victory. And then a few verses after this description, we find these words: “Do everything without grumbling and arguing…” Now, remember, this is tied in to our theme verses. It’s a continuation of the previous bit about being like Christ. So, apparently in order to be like Christ, it is not only what we do that is important, but also how we do it. Our demeanor and our approach matters.
Pause and think about one thing right now that you do not want to do… (give a second…) You might not have a choice about whether or not you actually have to do that thing, but that doesn’t mean you have NO choice in the matter.
Your choice in the matter comes in the manner in which you carry it out.
Either we can begrudgingly go about our tasks as if the whole world is out to get us or, we can choose to view even the things we don’t want to do as a potential gift of God.
Maybe engaging in that very difficult task will produce perseverance you never knew you had. Maybe you will grow in patience, or understanding by confronting that difficult person. Or maybe your overall demeanor will be an encouragement to someone else today. Maybe going about your life in joy and thankfulness will literally help to shape you into the likeness of Christ. After all, that’s the goal – to become “little Christs.” Or as Paul puts it, to become blameless and pure children of God.
Choose gratitude today over grumbling.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, We know your command to Love our neighbors as ourselves. Help us to live it out, and to live it out gratefully. Change our perspective to see everything and everyone as a gift from you. Shape us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
About the Author: Mr. Lyzenga goes by many different titles: “Husband” (AKA “worse half”) of Mrs. Rebekah Lyzenga – 4th grade teacher, “Daddy” to 2 super cute kids – Caleb & Selah, “Chapel coordinator” and “Bible teacher” on the high school campus, and “Super fan” of all teams from Chicago including the reigning World Champion Chicago Cubs!
Originally published on April 7, 2017.