No complaining.doc SD 20
September 2, 2007 File: E
8The Joyful Christian Part 5
(from sermon outline by Rick Warren)
We have been talking about the joyful Christian.
Learning how to maintain joy in a joyless world!
Elton Trueblood said once: “The Christian is joyful, not because he is blind to injustice and suffering, but because he is convinced that these, in the light of the divine sovereignty, are never ultimate. The humor of the Christian is not a way of denying the tears, but rather a way of affirming something which is deeper than tears.”
C. Swindol—“A few things in life are absolutely tragic, no question about it. First among them is a joyless Christian…”
The joyful Christian is a contagion on society!
An infection that ought to spread…to every sour soul!
Our text this morning deals with complaining and arguing.
NLT “In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them.”
Complaining kills joy!!!!
It takes it from you and from everybody around you!
But it is hard work to not complain—Everybody does it!
Bad news makes headlines…we are bombarded by the negative…with what is wrong… and if you let it, we become conditioned by it and become complainers ourselves…joyless…
Our text tells us that God wants Christians to be different—
Shining like stars in the dark night…
8 Here are some common types of complainers—maybe you have seen them! Maybe you are one…Don’t point any fingers please!
81. The “Whiner”
These people wake up negative…the “rise and whine”
David in the Psalms is often found whining…
Psalm 73:13 (LB) “Have I been wasting my time? Why take all the trouble to be pure? All I get out of it is trouble and woe.”
The tell-tale sign of the whiner is: “It’s not fair.”
“I don’t deserve this.”
“Everybody else gets all the breaks.”
Matt. 20:11-12 (GN) “They took their money and started grumbling against the employer ... `We put up with a whole day’s work in the hot sun – yet you paid them the same as you paid us.’”
Life is not fair. God never said it is going to be fair.
As long as you complain about the fact that life is not fair it only makes you more miserable. But it will never change the fact that life is not always fair. Complaining does not work.
It doesn’t help to make anybody happy!
8 2. THE MARTYR
Their favorite phrase is: “No body appreciates me…”
“I work my fingers to the bone…and nobody notices…”
Moses was playing this role in Numbers 11:11-15 (LB)
“Moses said to the Lord, `Why pick on me, to give the burden of a people like this? I can’t carry this nation by myself! If you’re going to treat me like this, please kill me right now – it will be a kindness! Let me out of this impossible situation!”
These people are pros at having pity parties. When they are sick or under pressure they want everybody to know about it.
How do you react when you don’t get your way?
Do you mount a complaining campaign?
8 3. THE CYNIC
Favorite phrase: “Nothing will ever change!”
“Eyore” (Winnie the Pooh) “Puddleglum” (Narnia)
Solomon in his old age became one of these—
Eccl. 1:2-4,9 (GN)/”Life is useless. You spend your life working and what do you have to show for it? The world stays just the same ... what has been done before will be done again.” /
Be careful as you age that you don’t become cynical and harsh and complaining!!! Maintain your childlike faith! Even when you get old!
8 4. THE PERFECTIOINIST
Nothing is ever right for this person—no matter how hard you try they think you should have done better…no matter what idea you come up with they have one better...
Favorite phrase: “Is that the best you can do?”
A perfectionist is a person who takes pains, and gives them to others.
Proverbs 27:15/ “A nagging wife is like water going drip, drip, drip on a rainy day.”/
Proverbs 21:19/ “Better to live out in the desert than with a nagging, complaining wife.”/
This refers to husbands, too!
Nagging perfectionists. Nothing is ever right. Always arguing.
Nothing destroys the warmth of a home faster than complaining.
Nothing destroys the harmony of a marriage faster than complaining.
Nagging doesn’t work. It just makes everybody upset.
If your kids are complaining continuously, ask yourself where they might be learning it from…do you complain against them?
Okay—we all probably can find ourselves in these categories at times…so what do we do about it!
8HOW DO WE CONQUER COMPLAINING?
The Bible says “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” How do you do that?
8 1. ADMIT IT IS A PROBLEM As with any bad habit (ANY SIN) you have to start by admitting that it is wrong! You will never change a behavior that you excuse!
Admit it is a problem for you, not for other people, but for you.
Proverbs 28:13 (LB)/ “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.”/
It is often the hardest to recognize this in ourselves because it has become so second nature (first nature)—ask yourself: How much of my speech is filled with griping, grumping, complaining, arguing, and saying “life stinks.”
You’ve got to admit it’s a problem for me!!!!
Complaining isn’t just a bad habit; it’s a sin.
We need to confess it. It’s a sin; it’s serious.
Complaining was the sin that kept the Israelites out of the promised land. God destroyed them in the desert because they grumbled. Seven times, Scripture says, “they murmured.” The reason the children of Israel never got into the promised land was because they were complainers. That’s how serious God says what we’re talking about is. Admit it!
8 2. Accept responsibility for my own life.
You have to stop blaming others, or circumstances, or life…for your trouble or the way you are…
I know that there are some things that happened to you that you had no power over—but what about all those stupid mistakes you made all on your own—you didn’t even need any help from the devil for much of it…
Just admit that it is a problem and take responsibility for your own life—so you made some poor choices…that doesn’t mean you are destined to keep making them…GET OVER IT!!!!
Proverbs 19:3 (GN) “Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid mistakes and then blame the Lord.”
Complaining ultimately is linked to God—Ultimately you are not complaining about circumstances you are complaining against God: Murmering!
Stop complaining about where you are and start making plans to get where you want to be!
8There are three kinds of people in life: accusers, excusers, and choosers.
Accusers are always going around saying “It’s your fault.” When Adam sinned he took it like a man and blamed his wife, “Eve did it,” and then he blamed God, “You gave me that woman.”
Excusers say “I’m a product of my environment. It’s not really my fault.”
The people that are really successful in life are neither accusers nor excusers. They are choosers. They accept responsibility for their own decisions. When they reap what they sow they take it and move ahead.
If you can do something about it: DO IT!
If you cannot do anything about it: complaining will not change it
It will only increase your capacity for misery!
It will not foster JOY!
You want to be a joyful Christian???
Stop complaining! Just Stop IT!!!!!
How? Admit it is a problem and confess it as sin!
Take responsibility for your own life—stop shifting the blame
8 3. Be Grateful—develop a thankful attitude!
I Thes. 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When we begin to make it a daily adventure to look for the things we can thank God for it will become a tremendous antidote to the complaining and grumbling spirit that so often grips us—or gripes us!
We are so blessed I America that we easily take it for granted!
Overseas American tourists are known for complaining.
Of course we are not “Pollyanna” in our approach—
There are things that are wrong in our world and we have to be honest about them before we can address them and make any difference…
Of course there are things in your life you would like to change
In your marriage
On your job
Your personal habits—things about your kids or your spouse, or your boss, or your workers
But I also believe that we must go at it in a positive manner without complaining and grumbling against them…
There are things about them that you can point out as positive.
DO IT! Praise Works!!!!
The Bible says that Christians are to be different. We are to
do everything without complaining and arguing that we may be the sons of God, blameless and harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation in which we shine as lights of the world.
We stand out in a crowd.
We shine like lights because we’re different.
Develop the attitude of gratitude.
8 4. Look for God’s Hand in your circumstances
If you want to get victory over complaining, look for God’s hand in your circumstances.
II Cor.4:17-18 (NLT)/ “For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles w3e can see right no; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever./
Romans 8:28/ “God works in all things for your good…”/
Look for his hand….determine to see where God is working and what God is doing and work with Him—not against Him!
Your trouble is temporary in light of how long you are going to live in eternity!!!
And God over-rules in our circumstances and works His will and purpose. Even in the things that the devil sends you for evil, God turns around for good—ultimate and eternal good!
So ask God to help you discern His hand in your circumstances
The reason why over and over in the Bible we are told not to complain is this: complaining is, in essence, rebellion against God.
We’re challenging three things:
1. I’m questioning God’s wisdom. “Do You really know what You’re doing? Do You see what’s going on? Is this really wise?”
2. I’m doubting God’s care. “Do You really love me? Really care for me?”
3. I’m forgetting God’s goodness. I’m focusing on what I don’t have rather than focusing on what I do have. I’m being ungrateful.
Complaining is ultimately against God!
If you see that something is wrong somewhere—do you rbest to change it in a positive way—Complaining won’t help!!!!
And you know what?
The only way you change other people is by changing yourself. Then they have to react to you differently.
8 5. Practice speaking positive words
Complaining is a habit and can only be broken by developing the opposite habit!!!
The opposite of complaining is praising!
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up
according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
The Bible says in Matthew 12:36 that we will give an account for every idle word—so we need to weigh our words—because they can kill or heal…they can minister life or death…
If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.
Replace your criticisms and complaints with compliments.
This is a crucial factor in parenting. Affirmation always gets better results than nagging.
Ephesians 6:4 (LB)/ “Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with loving discipline and godly advice.” /
Parents, do your words help your kids? Or do they hinder your kids? Are you building your kids up or tearing them down? Be positive in your speaking and in your discipline! YOU CAN!
Philippians 2:15 tells us the results we can expect when we don’t complain—when we live like Jesus!
1. “so that you may become blameless ...” This means that when you don’t complain, nobody can find fault with you. Nobody can point a finger at you.
The only thing they could find against Daniel was that he prayed all the time—so they had to make a law against it to get at him…
2. “and pure…” this means that you will have integrity!
Complaining makes people doubt your integrity!
3. “Children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and depraved world, among whom you shine as stars—
When you shining like this in our dark world you stand out
Christians are different!
They are different in their attitudes
They are different in their ethics and morality
They are different in so many ways!
We love God! We love Jesus!
He has made a difference!
And when we live the difference and stop complaining about everything we stand out and shine like stars
So…..You wanna be a star????
Stop complaining and arguing!!!
Last week we looked at v. 13 “For God is at work in you to will and to act according to His purpose.”
The first thing he talks about after he talks about God working in us is complaining.
How do you know when God is working in your life?
The first clue: check your attitude.
You need a power beyond yourself, Jesus Christ.
He is the antidote to our culture and our nature.
He makes us new people inside. Maybe the complaining is an imbedded habit. The only way that will be broken is by an external power in your life who will begin changing you from the inside out.
Why not ask Jesus to change you…and ask Him every day to show you where He is working…and then work with Him!!!!
The Joyful Christian—Part Five
(from an outline by Rick Warren)
PHILIPPIANS 2:14-15 “Do everything without complaining or arguing, 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.”
I. FOUR COMMON TYPES OF COMPLAINERS
(David) “Have I been wasting my time Why take all the trouble to be pure? All I get out of it is trouble and woe.” Psalm 73:13 (LB)
“They took their money and started grumbling against the employer ... `We put up with a whole day’s work in the hot sun – yet you paid them the same as you paid us.” Matt. 20:11-12 (GN)
“Moses said to the Lord, `Why pick on me, to give me the burden of a people like this? I can’t carry this nation by myself! ... If you’re going to treat me like this, please kill me right now – it will be a kindness! Let me out of this impossible situation!” Numbers 11:11-15 (LB)
(Solomon) “Life is useless ... you spend your life working and what do you have to show for it? ... the world stays just the same ... what has been done before will be done again.” Eccl. 1:2-4,9 (GN)
“A nagging wife is like water going drip, drip, drip on a rainy day.” Prov. 27:15 (GN)
“Better to live out in the desert than with a nagging, complaining wife.” Prov. 21:19 (GN)
II. HOW TO CONQUER COMPLAINING
“A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.” Prov. 28:13 (LB)
“Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid mistakes and then blame the Lord.” Prov. 19:3 (GN)
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thess. 5:18
“... I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Phil. 4:11
“For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles w3e can see right no; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. 2 Cor. 4:17-18 (NLT)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Eph. 4:29
“Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. rather, bring them up with loving discipline ... and godly advice.” Eph. 6:4 (LB)
 Charles Swindol, The finishing Touch, Word, 1994, p.65