Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 012 Complaint Fosters Rebellion
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast.
Episode #012 – Complaint Fosters Rebellion
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed and thrilled to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
What a day I experienced yesterday! It was actually perfect preparation for this podcast. I woke up feeling fine to begin my day. After eating breakfast, which, by the way, I want to eat as soon as I wake up every day, I began to have stomach issues.
Unfortunately, since I have a lot of food allergies and intolerances, every couple of weeks I end up with severe stomach cramping that literally makes me feel like I have the flu. Since I have not been outside my home (because we are adhering to the CO-VID19 social distancing order), I knew I most likely was not sick. At about the time my worst cramps were hitting, my husband came home from the grocery store. He’s been going out as little as possible, so when he gets back home, we have quite a few groceries to disinfect and put away.
I met him in the kitchen, told him I thought I was going to be sick, and asked him to leave the items on the kitchen floor so I could come clean them as soon as I was able to. About half an hour later, I made myself get to the kitchen to begin the long process of disinfecting every item he brought home. At first my thoughts began to slide to how much work it now was to clean everything just to put it away in the pantry and refrigerator. My stomach was still not feeling well, and even though I wasn’t feeling like I needed to run to the toilet to throw up at any second, I knew that could change again quickly.
Yet as soon as the negative thoughts entered my mind, I decided to lift praises of gratitude instead. I began thanking God that my husband was able to go purchase the food and items we needed, and for the money to buy our essentials. I offered gratitude that I had spray disinfectant and that my husband came home with one small container of Clorox wipes that we hadn’t been able to purchase in weeks.
As my thoughts began to wander toward wondering how long our cleaning supplies and paper towels would last, I questioned whether I should postpone cleaning the bathrooms in case we would not be able to restock our supplies on the next grocery run. It felt so odd to have to balance how long our supplies would last and decide whether I would have enough of what I needed left to clean the food items on the next grocery run.
Again, when those questions arose in my mind, God gently shoved them away and reminded me to carry nothing but praise and trust in my mind, heart, and on my lips. I thanked Him once again for what He had provided and for the way He carried and loved us each day. I finished cleaning and storing all the new purchases and ran back to the bathroom as a new wave of cramps hit. I had been given just enough time to do what I needed to in the kitchen. New praise arose from my heart and lips.
Through the remainder of the day, I was offered many opportunities to choose whether to praise God or complain. I thanked God for the reminders that just “happened” to come at this exact time that I was beginning to prepare this podcast. One of the funniest stories for me personally was the fact that with my food issues, it is difficult to eat a wide variety of items. Since I am so limited, it’s a big deal when I get to eat something different.
My husband had also brought home a rack of pork ribs to grill for me yesterday. I’m really picky and dislike the fatty ones, so he always selects ones that look extra lean. He usually does such a delicious job when he grills and I was ready for the tasty treat, but when he changed out the tank to the grill it burned extra hot and the meat was ruined. In the middle of a pandemic and stay-home order, you don’t want your husband to go right back to the store for more meat. I praised God for a man who loves me enough to try to get me something special and for the food that I already had at home.
Do I tell you these stories to make you think I have it all together and live with a perfect mindset and relationship with my Heavenly Father? Definitely not! I understand I’m so far away from where He wants me to be. But I also understand His grace and recognize His work in my life. I remember how far He has brought me. I acknowledge the Holy Spirit transforming me daily. When I live with such miraculous change and reconstruction of my thoughts and heart, I cannot help but share Him with you to encourage you to press on in your own walk with Jesus.
It is so much easier to complain than to offer thanks, just as it takes more effort to smile than to sit with an unhappy expression. Erasing a grumbly or disappointed attitude takes concentrated effort, especially in our culture of entitlement and selfishness. I have to remain mindful and be very careful with my words because I tend to voice my opinions and feelings sometimes as I verbally process big thoughts. After I have done so, I don’t usually give them another thought because it has been cleared away and I am fine. Yet, I do not want to appear to others, especially my husband and family, that I am complaining.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
When I was young, I tended to view life through a more negative lens. Instead of automatically searching for the positive side of anything, I was passively raised to immediately think more negatively or pessimistically. It took years to recognize and shift my mindset to begin thinking with a positive, life-affirming attitude. It actually began to occur after I focused on deepening my walk with Jesus. He began shifting and molding my thoughts to be more in sync with His.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Since our thoughts and attitude affect our words, what joy do you imagine it brings our loving Heavenly Father to hear us obey Him with our speech?
Unfortunately, since the beginning of the creation of man, God has dealt with our complaints. Adam and Eve began the cycle of thoughts involving dissatisfaction when Eve allowed Satan to manipulate her into believing his attacks on God’s character and she began entertaining doubt about God’s love for her and Adam. She believed Satan’s subtle denials about the truth of God’s word, and his lies accusing God of jealousy. Because of these manipulations, Eve switched from listening to God’s instructions to following her own misguided will and thought things would be better if she took what God had forbidden. Adam listened to Eve and did the same, then complained to God that she had given it to him to eat.
Complaining in the Greek is muttering or grumbling. It shows an inner rebellion that defies God and challenges His right to rule us.
As we move a little farther in the Bible, we pass through Genesis to Exodus and come to the story of Moses, where once again, we see God’s dominion challenged.
In Exodus 3:11, after God tells Moses that He has heard the cries of His people, the Israelites in Egypt and is going to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians by sending Moses to Pharaoh to bring them out of captivity, Moses questioned, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses was dissatisfied with what God was calling him to do. There may have been a variety of reasons why. None of them matter to God. Displeasure plus disobedience equals complaint and rebellion.
Moses complained because he misunderstood the nature of God. He looked to “self” and missed the fact that God is and would be the Deliverer. God wasn’t relying on Moses to be the strength behind events; He wanted Moses to rely on His mighty power.
Moses complained because He didn’t believe He knew enough. Instead of seeking and claiming God’s wisdom, truths, and power, Moses looked to his own inadequate knowledge.
Moses complained because he had low confidence. He knew his abilities were limited, but didn’t look beyond himself and claim God’s ultimate power.
Moses complained because he had limited speech ability. Moses didn’t understand or trust that God can use anyone, especially the weakest and least, when we are willing to let Him work through us.
Moses complained because he was scared. Again, Moses proves that he was looking to self, instead of focusing on God, who can do above and beyond what we have the ability to imagine.
God replied to Moses in Exodus 3:12a, “I will certainly be with you.” We must remember that the success of anything God calls us to do is not dependent on our ability. God’s promise and assuring words should have been enough for Moses to stop worrying and questioning the mission God had assigned him, yet Moses found it much easier to focus on his own personal faults or shortcomings and fret, standing in fear and complaint, rather than accept God at His word. Just as we often do.
Exodus 3:14 says, “And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God declared to Moses exactly Who He is: an ever-present, uncreated self-existence, eternal, and unchanging.
God is everything Moses would need to rely on and believe in to carry him through what God called Moses to let Him accomplish through simple obedience.
God in the triune, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is everything each of us need.
Another example of complaint signifying rebellion is the story of Jonah. When Jonah disobeyed God’s instruction to go east to Assyria (Nineveh’s capital city), as God had instructed, and traveled the opposite direction to Tarshish instead, we see major opposition to the authority of God. Jonah held many complaints against the Ninevites, and because of his anger and hatred, could not see he was refusing God just as much or more than they were. When we complain to God with our voice and/or our actions, and disobey His commands to us, whether they are shown to us intimately and directly, or through His Holy word, it is simple rebellion and we sin.
Does this mean we can’t share our feelings with God? Definitely not. He already knows our thoughts and needs, but God never desires that we voice complaints simply for the sake of grumbling. He welcomes our questions and thoughts, and wants to teach and grow us, but He doesn’t wish for us to simply complain, expressing unhappiness or displeasure, then go our own way, placing a wedge between Him and us. When we approach God, we want to do so with honesty and trust, knowing He can relieve our frustration, bitterness, unforgiveness, loneliness, depression, or any emotion we have. He knows when we are hurting and never wants us to feel alone. Confide in our Heavenly Father, but trust Him to handle and relieve distress. Placing praise and trust ahead of frivolous complaints is the desire God has for our lives.
After surviving a violent storm and being swallowed by a whale, Jonah is vomited out of the belly of the giant fish, and God again requests that Jonah travel to Nineveh, instructing him to preach a message to the people there. Finally obedient with his actions, although his attitude of complaint against God and the people still needed major adjusting, Jonah did travel quickly to relay the word God had given him. The very people Jonah held such hatred and contempt for quickly cast aside their evil behavior and repented to God, making Jonah extremely angry.
Throughout the story of Jonah, we see his complaint-filled, rebellious attitude toward the immoral Ninevites and recognize rebellion and rejection of God in both. Yet, the Ninevites immediately changed their ways when face-to-face with God’s approaching judgement, while Jonah remained displeased and bad-tempered, proving that the prophet knew a lot about God, but didn’t really know God.
How easy that is to do.
Sometimes complaints and rebellion are not spoken, but are proven by the way we live. Our attitude and actions express our negativity and separate us from our Heavenly Father.
Philippians 2:14 instructs, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”
What is the key to adhering to this verse from Philippians?
When we are His, and allow the Holy Spirit to do a good work in us, we become children of God who shine Him in this world without complaint and living with gratitude and praise.
Ephesians 2:1-10 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Once we recognize and accept that salvation through Jesus is critical to eternal life and living with eternal perspective, how do we grow in and remain close to Him?
How do we shift away from grumbling and complaining, to living with freedom and contentment? How do we ensure that our heart carries no inner rebellion that would dispute God’s authority in our life?
How do we ensure that we do not become like the Israelites as they wandered through the wilderness?
1 Corinthians 10:9-10 says, “Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.”
The grumbling in the desert drove the Israelites to perform many acts against the Lord. Through them, we are reminded that we must purpose to keep praise in our hearts and on our lips, despite circumstances.
Even in the worst of times, God is faithful. We must chose to lift our eyes to Him and trust that He is present and that His unlimited knowledge, grace, love, and power will rescue and provide for us.
When we focus on our present circumstances or trials through a lens of self-reliance, we fall victim to fear, worry, and complaint.
If we live with a mindset of trust, faith, and reliance on the provision of an omnipotent Heavenly Father, we experience His power and blessings.
John 15:1-11 instructs, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
We must abide in Him.
Once we have purposely sought and accepted the gift Jesus sacrificed to give us, our obligation is to stay connected to Him, to rely on Him, and to reside in His care. We follow His command to seek Him daily, allowing Jesus to fill and transform us. We continue to be sanctified through Him as we dedicate our mind, heart, and soul to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, conforming us to the image of Jesus.
Can you remember Jesus grumbling and complaining when He lived among us? Or do you imagine Him drawing nearer to God, sharing His intimate thoughts, seeking His provisions and appreciating His care?
When we keep our focus on Him, we allow God to transform us into the image He created us to become. Complaints and rebellion are not welcome in God’s kingdom and deprive us from true peace and joyful fellowship.
His ways become ours when we trust and follow Him, allowing Him to remove our grumbling, discontented spirit and replace it with a perspective influenced and nurtured by the One who loves us beyond measure.
Thank you so much for listening to the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. God has impressed so much on my heart to share. Living with an eternal perspective affects absolutely everything in my life. I am thrilled to delve into different areas with you. Since everything affects our eternity, we have a lot to discuss! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you found value in this podcast, please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. I also encourage you to leave a review. In order for others to be able to find this podcast, I will need the support of listeners who will invest a few minutes in subscribing and reviewing to lift Live With Eternal Perspective higher on the charts so that the platform shows it to everyone.
Thank you again for sharing part of your day with me. Until next time, keep looking Upward and finding new ways to live with an Eternal Perspective.