“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:11-12)
Complaining is defined in a child of God as not being satisfied with God’s provision for him; which becomes evident in body posture and in words spoken. The act of complaining flows from a spirit of rebellion to God and His Plan for your life.
The story of Jonah depicts this rebellious spirit, and consequently his foolish words of Jonah 4:1-5, and reveals why he tried to avoid going to Nineveh to preach repentance to turn the Judgment of God. Jonah did finally obey God and preach “repent or burn” to Nineveh. Nineveh repented in sackcloth and in ashes (3:6-10); they turned from their evil way and God spared His Judgment on them.
This made Jonah angry with God; because Jonah knew God was “…a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil” (Jonah 4:2). It made Jonah so angry that he said (verse 4:3), “…O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Why Jonah? Why are you so angry? The problem was many-sided. But one primary reason Jonah was angry was because of God’s Sovereignty; that His grace and mercy included, not only the Jew, but also the Gentile. (Read Romans 9:6-24.) Jonah’s inner problem was he was angry at God’s plan and purpose that the body of believers, even the Church, would not be of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. (See Galatians 3:26-29.) It is spelled, Pride of Preeminence.
It is hard to believe that people who wear the name of Christian do not want bond or free, male or female, Jew or Gentile of any color, any race, and any creed to be included in the Household of Faith, the Body of Christ, where all identity is lost for now. But, it is a fact. Many want the name recognition of a certain denominational name. Why? Because we have the “truth” and we are the “correct” ones.
It is the same problem when we are changed from our comfort zone in life. When God turns our path into a valley or to the Potter’s House, or brings us to a desert and famine. Our first response is, “God, don’t You know who I am? Don’t You see all that I have going on? God, why?
It takes a work of God in the heart of one who is walking in a great trial or test to see that God’s purpose is:
- To see who you are and who God is;
- To come to completely depend on Him;
- To come to a sweet communion with Him;
- To come to see your purpose;
- To be conformed to His image to be fit for His service.
But many times, instead of standing still and seeing what God is doing, we begin to complain.
However, Paul gives us the correct response, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12). Paul had learned to rejoice and praise God in whatever state he was in, and so should the Christian. Our complaining should be turned into praise; for God is working good for those that love God and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
The problem is rebellion to God. To stop complaining, you must confess your rebellion, stand still, wait on God, receive instruction, and then yield to God’s Power that lives in you to obey His Word in whatever state you are in.