What I want to talk about is a complaining heart or an ungrateful attitude.
to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault:
is It ever okay to complain?
We certainly need to sometimes express concerns.
We have to be real
But if we are always focused on the negative aspects of life, we are more likely to see them, which creates a vicious cycle of more and more complaining.
Let’s look at the last part of that definition.
focusing on the bad rather than the good
What is the fruit of a complaining heart?
it poisons those around us
it’s emotionally draining to us and those around us
it fuels the sin of gossip and rumors
it can divide families
it can divide churches
I can allow myself to be agitated with the simplest things sometimes.
I can’t let things like this steal my joy or control my emotions and thoughts.
This is what happens when I allow my eyes and heart to be fixed on me.
What does the Bible say about complaining?
Philippians 2:12-15 (NLT)
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
How does God view complaining?
Let’s look at The Story of a man named Job
Job 1:1-3 (NLT) 1 There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters. 3 He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.
#1 He was blameless—a man of complete integrity
#2 He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.
Job 1:13-19 (NLT) 13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
17 While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
18 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. 19 Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
In a moment of time, Everything was Gone!
Job 1:20-22 (NLT) 20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. 21 He said,
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”
22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.
The Man knew who he was
and he knew who his God was
Job 2:4-8 (NLT) 4 Satan replied to the Lord, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. 5 But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
6 “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” 7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.
8 Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes.
Now the emotional pain turned to physical pain
Job 2:9-10 (NLT) 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”
10 But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
28 chapters later, after Job has been influenced by his three friends his outlook has changed.
Job 30:15-23 (NLT) 15 I live in terror now.
My honor has blown away in the wind,
and my prosperity has vanished like a cloud.
16 “And now my life seeps away.
Depression haunts my days.
17 At night my bones are filled with pain,
which gnaws at me relentlessly.
18 With a strong hand, God grabs my shirt.
He grips me by the collar of my coat.
19 He has thrown me into the mud.
I’m nothing more than dust and ashes.
20 “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer.
I stand before you, but you don’t even look.
21 You have become cruel toward me.
You use your power to persecute me.
22 You throw me into the whirlwind
and destroy me in the storm.
23 And I know you are sending me to my death—
the destination of all who live.
Chapter 31 is all about Job protesting his innocence and him bragging about all the good he has done.
Job 38:1-13 (NLT) The Lord Challenges Job
1 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom
with such ignorant words?
3 Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
5 Who determined its dimensions
and stretched out the surveying line?
6 What supports its foundations,
and who laid its cornerstone
7 as the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
as it burst from the womb,
9 and as I clothed it with clouds
and wrapped it in thick darkness?
10 For I locked it behind barred gates,
limiting its shores.
11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!’
12 “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
13 Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
This Conversation between God and Job goes on through chapter 41.
At The end of the book of Job, Job fully repents and God restores his life to him.
Now, lets take a look at the Israelites in the desert
Numbers 11:1-2 (NLT) 1 Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said.
What does God think about complaining?
Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.
Why does a complaining heart so anger God?
Complaining is a symptom of;
And it says to God, you’re not good enough.
2 Then the people screamed to Moses for help, and when he prayed to the Lord, the fire stopped.
Moses was able to calm God’s wrath because he had God’s heart. Moses only wanted what God wanted!
Numbers 11:4-6 (NLT) 4 Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. 5 “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. 6 But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”
The people forgot how bad it was when they were slaves in Egypt
They forgot how God was good to them and rescued them.
They took their eyes off the Lord and onto their circumstances.
Just like them, we are a forgetful people.
Who are we to express our concerns and opinions?
Chain of command, Gripes go up.
Now, it is Moses’s turn to gripe.
Numbers 11:11-15 (NLT) 11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?
Look at who he is talking to. He is talking directly to the Lord in prayer.
12 Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors?
13 Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! 15 If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”
What is the difference here between Moses’s complaining and people complaining?
#1 God measures attitude of the heart.
The people want more things. Moses wants his people to trust the Lord.
#2 Moses is griping to the one who can make a difference, not to people around him
Psalms 142:1-3 (NLT)
1 I cry out to the Lord;
I plead for the Lord’s mercy.
2 I pour out my complaints before him
and tell him all my troubles.
3 When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn.
Give it all to the Lord. He cannot only handle it, but he can do something about it.
So, practically, how do we do this?
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Paul says that we must be transformed by changing the way we think.”
The mind is the key to our Christian life.
The gospel is a call for each one of us to repent of our sin and embrace Christ by faith.
Our thinking must be changed (transformed) from old, ungodly ways of thinking into new, godly ways of thinking.
What we know in our minds to be true
forms a conviction in our hearts of that truth,
and that conviction in our hearts translates into action.
So, we must first renew our minds.
The only way to replace the error of the world’s way of thinking
is to replace it with God’s truth,
and the only infallible source of God’s truth is His revealed Word, the Bible.
Transformation through renewed minds
comes as we expose ourselves to God’s Word
through the church,
personal, and group Bible study.
We need to get into our Bibles.
Church alone is not enough
We must fill our minds with God’s Word.
In John 17:17 Jesus prayed to the Father,
17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
Romans 10:17 (NLT)
17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
When we are reading it, we are hearing it.
What do we have to be thankful for?
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.