Sunday, February 6, 2011

without complaining...

inspiration: "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 as you hold out the word of life -- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." (Philippians 2:14-16)

"Do everything without complaining or arguing" (Phil 2:14)
...yeah, i'm not doing so hot with that.
just yesterday, in fact, i was complaining to my best friend about being single.
i lamented on my blog about how much i was wrestling with my season of singleness.

but this morning's message was a wake up call. the title of our sermon today was "How to Become a Star".
not a movie star. or a famous reality TV star. (i doubt that's in the Bible anywhere...)
but how to be a like one of the stars you can see at night. out in the country, away from the lights of the city. one of those stars. they're always there. they're always shining brightly. but they stand out more when there is no ambient light around.

we're called to be like that.
shining brightly for all to see.

we should care that people see us in this light because we have been redeemed! we have been given true life through salvation because of Christ's blood. it's nothing we could've done for ourselves. it was his grace, poured out to us every single day!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not of from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast." -Ephesians 2:8-9

we can't repay Christ for His love.
but what we're called to do is to shine for Him. like stars.

and how do we do this?

"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 as you hold out the word of life -- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." (Philippians 2:14-16)

a quote that Greg said this morning really, and i mean realllllllllly hit me hard was this:
"Complaining at its root is rebellion against God."

when we take our circumstances and make them about US, we are rebelling against God in favor of a view where we are God. we create an image of what it would be like if WE were in control. and that is rebellion.

our lives sans complaining or arguing will turn up the contrast between us and the world, thus, making us shine "brighter". imagine this: you're a cashier and you have a line full of customers waiting to check out. everyone is grumpy and mad that they're waiting. but the person you're checking out is patient, kind, and friendly. they stand out as a breath of fresh air in the midst of the ruckus around you.

we're called to be like that.

Greg gave us three sort of "action" steps to allow this "shining like stars" analogy come to life. and hearing these and reading these Scriptures aloud really weighed heavy on my heart because i know that, lately, i've done nothing but complain.

1. own your sin.
we have to admit sin and repent of it. sin distances us from God and from our relationships with others.

2. learn to say "thanks".
we must be thankful in all circumstances. because problems come and go, but the good that results will far outweigh the promises.
one of my new favorite verses:

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:17-18

3. stay positive.
we have to replace complaining with positivity.

"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." -Ephesians 4:29

i realized that i've been nothing but a rebel. i've idolized a relationship with someone above my relationship with Christ. i wrote down that i was done complaining about my season of singleness and left it at the foot of the Cross (Seacoast has crosses on the wall and at the end of a sermon, the congregation can choose to write something down and pin it to the cross as a symbol of repentance - that they are leaving their burden, sin, struggle, whatever it may be at the Cross).

i'm learning to be thankful for this season of singleness i'm in. not only is it a perfect opportunity to connect with Christ solely, to prepare my heart for the one He will bless me with; but it also is teaching me perseverance.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." -James 1:2-4

and i'm going to stay positive.
God is blessing me with a season of singleness for a reason. i've blogged about it multiple times lately, but the heart of the matter is still the same. He needs to be the love of my life before anyone else can become the earthly love of my life.


God is working in me and through me for something that is far greater than myself.
and who am i to complain about the work He is doing?!

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." -Philippians 2:13

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