WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 11, 2023
TOPIC: STAY AWAY FROM COMPLAINING AND ARGUING
BY T. O. BANSO
“In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing” (Philippians 2:14 The Living Bible).
David said in Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (New King James Version). Dwelling with other believers in unity is one of the things difficult for some Christians to do. Each insists on his knowledge and interpretation of the scripture on an issue and is not ready to concede to others whom they believe are wrong. Thus, they might not walk or work together.
Sometimes the other person could be wrong or both parties are right and are probably looking at the issue from different perspectives. In some cases, the Bible is silent on what the brethren are complaining and arguing about. The disagreement could also be just a matter of preference, not about sin or holiness.
Romans 14:1-4 says, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand” (New King James Version).
It is very important that when Christians disagree on some issues, they must not allow that to tear them apart. They must not allow anything to destroy their unity. I think the devil likes it a lot when there is strife and brothers and sisters cannot live together in unity.
Pastors are sometimes guilty of complaining and arguing and the attendant consequences. Each person believes that his knowledge and interpretation of the scriptures is the correct one or his position on a matter should be endorsed by others. He believes others are wrong and he is right. The situation sometimes degenerates to the level that they cannot work together. I remember a pastors’ prayer programme that was discontinued because of an argument in the last edition held. Imagine that!
Some Christians are known for always complaining and arguing in church committees/groups or church services/meetings. They find it difficult to work harmoniously with others because they always grumble and disagree with others. They have the mentality that they’re always right or are better than others and, thus, must complain and argue so that they can have their way. This is not good.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he said, “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (Philippians 2:14 New King James Version). Notice the phrase “do all things.” All things, not some or a few things. Do all things without complaining and disputing. To do otherwise is to destroy the unity in the church. The New Living Translation renders this verse thus: “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”
The two translations agree on the use of the word “complaining.” The Greek word translated complaining also means grumbling. But while the New King James Version uses the word “disputing” for the second thing mentioned, the New Living Translation uses the word “arguing”. The two words are talking about the same thing. Some Christians habitually complain and argue about some things or anything! It could be about the sermon/message, instruction, their lives, and so on.
The Living Bible puts Philippians 2:14 thus: “In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing.” Pay attention to the phrase “stay away from complaining and arguing.” There may be reasons to complain or argue but avoid it. You can win an argument but cause a division. You can complain and destroy the unity among the brethren. Job told his friends whose position was that his trials were because of his sins, “How forceful are right words! But what does your arguing prove?” (Job 6:25 New King James Version).
Always let love reign and seek the unity of the brethren. I’m not talking about condoning sin, compromising the truth, or encouraging false doctrines. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34 New King James Version). Some fellowships or Christian organizations have been factionalized because of complaining and arguing. This would have been avoided if they had stayed away from complaining and arguing.
In Philippians 2:15, Paul explains why the church should stay away from complaining and arguing: “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (New King James Version). If the world knows a church or believer to be always complaining and arguing, what image of the church or the Christian would they have?
Earlier in Philippians 2:3, Paul said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (New King James Version). Sometimes selfish ambition or conceit is the reason for habitual complaining and arguing. Proverbs 13:10 says that pride only leads to arguments, but those who take advice are wise. Stay away from complaining and arguing. Do everything out of love, not selfish ambition. Paul said some people preached Christ from selfish ambition and some out of love (Philippians 1:16-17).
Stay away from complaining and arguing. Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor” (Amplified Bible). Let brotherly love continue (Hebrews 13:1). The Apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 1:22, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (New King James Version).
The Israelites complained habitually under Moses’ leadership in the wilderness (Exodus 15:24; 16:2; 17:3; Numbers 11:1; 14:2). In Exodus 16:8, Moses told them that they were not complaining against Aaron and him but against the Lord. Referring to their complaining, grumbling, or murmuring, the Bible warns Christians not to complain or murmur as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer (1 Corinthians 10:10). Fourteen thousand seven hundred Israelites perished in a plague for murmuring against Moses and Aaron for the death of Korah and his company (Numbers 16:41, 49).
Stay away from complaining and arguing. This is not limited to the church. Even in the family, stay away from complaining and arguing. Some homes are characterized by these. Husbands and wives are always complaining and arguing. There is no peaceful communication. It is not even good for your health. Proverbs 21:19 says, “It’s better out in the desert than at home with a nagging, complaining wife” (Contemporary English Version). Also, Proverbs 27:15-16 says, “A complaining wife is like water that never stops dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold oil in your hand” (Easy-to-Read Version).
The same is true of a complaining husband! Neither could be pleased. There can’t be peace in such a home unless they stay away from complaining and arguing. This is also true of other relationships where there is persistent complaining and arguing. Nobody is perfect or knows it all. As Proverbs 10:12 says, hatred stirs up strife but love covers all sins.
God doesn’t want you to grumble/complain or argue. The Bible even says in 1 Peter 4:9 to offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Instead of complaining and arguing, put your trust in the Lord. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man; it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes (Psalm 118:8-9). God will take care of you. He will work all things together for your good because you love Him and you are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Stay away from complaining and arguing.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of my habitual complaining and arguing. I shall henceforth stay away from complaining and arguing in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help Christians to be devoted to one another with authentic brotherly affection as members of one family and give preference to one another in honour. Help us to stay away from complaining and arguing in the church, family, and other relationships.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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