Isn’t it frustrating to keep repeating a negative behavior by default, when you know you shouldn’t?
I love my job but not every task is enjoyable. Some are tedious, manual, irksome. On days I’m working on the unwanteds, negativity pollutes the atmosphere. I scratch my head, groan, and bleat in protestation.
My husband called me out on this recurring behavior one day. You can’t pick and choose. Convicted, I realized I wasn’t the only one in our home who acts that way. Our 3-year-old does this too when he doesn’t like something he’s told to do. The difference is age.
My son mirrored my immaturish soul. I look like a grown adult with a toddling attitude.
We assume holistic maturity goes hand in hand with adulthood. Don’t years make you smarter in the affairs of life?
Job 32:9 says otherwise. Those [who are] abundant in years may not [always] be wise. (AMP)
Turns out, I wasn’t alone in this negativity. Philippians 2:14-15 says, Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
How could someone shine like stars in the sky when everybody else is doing the same thing? Obviously, this complaining and arguing is prevalent in society. Not just in modern times but also in Paul’s.
Let’s look at the verse again. How could Paul give the command to ‘do everything without grumbling and arguing’ when amnesia sets in everytime an unsettling situation arises?
To gain a better understanding of the Apostle’s instruction, we need to read the verse in its context. Let’s go back a couple of verses up, verses 12-13. It says “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Meaning, we can’t ‘do everything’ in our own self-effort. I trusted in my flawed self, so I failed. Willpower alone will fail. No one remembers to do the right thing when exposed to adverse situations.
However, when the Holy Spirit is inside us, God works in the will. Action follows. And we fulfill His good purposes.
Allow me to summarize that:
- The will to do good will be inside us through the work of the Holy Spirit. He will remind us to do the right thing in the moment of tension.
- Action follows. This could be by having the peace of God to perform the unwanted task. Or remembering to pray, “Lord, I can’t. But you live inside me and You can. I depend on Your leadership.”
- Joy for fulfilling the purposes of God. Fulfillment brings joy.
There is hope for everyone who receives Christ as Lord and Savior over their lives.
By simple act of faith. Acknowledging our failures and sins. Asking for God forgiveness. And inviting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour over our lives. Then He will fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit, the same power that raises the Lord Jesus from the dead.
When we depend on Him, then we will shine among the children of God — without fault in a warped and crooked generation — like stars in the sky.