“Do all things without murmuring or complaining…” Philippians 2:14
Jeremiah Burroughs, a preacher from the 1600s, wrote a book called, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. While his subject is contentment, he devotes several chapters to a discussion on the evils of a murmuring spirit. He relates discontentment with murmuring stating that, “murmuring is like smoke”, it reveals a fire within. There is much corruption in a murmuring spirit.
As we look through Scripture we see that murmuring is connected with the ungodly and rebellious in Jude 16. And, in Numbers 16:41 we see the Children of Israel murmuring against Moses and Aaron. All through the Bible we read of people who are discontent and who murmur and complain. Burroughs writes, “Murmuring is a disorder that lodges in men. Where it gets in once it lodges, abides and continues. We must dislodge it and get it out.”
Murmuring becomes a habitual reaction to frustration and disappointment. It is also a sign of discontentment in our hearts. This verse in Philippians tells us to do all things without murmuring. So that tells me that we do have a choice.
We can choose to get a habitual pattern of negative thoughts, attitudes and words toward the situations and people in life, or, we can choose a pattern of positive thoughts, attitudes and words. Sounds to me like it is a matter of the heart?
What about you? Is your initial reaction in difficulty to complain, blame or be vengeful? Do you mutter under your breath? Do you have a negative attitude that comes out in your words? Where there is smoke…….there is fire! Better be checking!
“…your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.”
It is a sad day when we murmur though we enjoy an abundance of mercy. God is so good to us, yet we complain. We murmur, yet, we are so wealthy in comparison to others in this world. We tend to be like Ahab, curled up on our bed pouting and fretting because we do not have everything we want.
God has graced us with gifts and abilities, yet we wish to have more, or we find fault and are ungrateful for the gifts and abilities we do have. Then, if God does give us more, we disregard it or throw it away.
God blesses us, yet we are still discontent. We keep trying to climb that ladder to success without realising that success is not being king of the mountain.
We are ungrateful children and all the while we are complaining and murmuring, God hears us. We might like to think we are blaming our spouse, or children, or finances, or boss, but the truth of the matter is God is the one with whom we are taking issue.
When we murmur we are saying that we are not appreciative of what God has given us. It is not good enough. We deserve better. Oh, really? Where do we read a list of “human rights” in the Bible? Where do we read that life will be rosy and perfect?
Humility, submission and thankfulness in all things is more often found. So where do you stand? Are you ungrateful for what God has given you? Do you feel you deserve better? Have you ever thought that your complaining is directed so pointedly at the Lord?
“Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.” John 6:43
The Jews, here, were murmuring, disputing among themselves, about Jesus’ doctrine. They were trying to find fault, to pick it apart, to tear it down. Why? Because it was pricking them to the heart and because they did not want to accept it. Jesus’ doctrine was so different from the Jewish law. It was so radical. As we read on in John 6 we come to verse 61. Here the disciples themselves also murmured. They too were offended at Jesus doctrine and hard sayings.
Have you ever caught yourself murmuring over something that was preached from the pulpit? Maybe the Spirit convicted you of something you needed to add or subtract from your life, but instead of yielding, you began to try to find fault, to pick apart or tear down what was preached.
What about times when your spiritual growth is challenged? When you are faced with adjusting your belief to be more aligned with God’s word? Do you accept Bible truth immediately, or do you murmur and resist? Granted, we should be comparing Scripture with Scripture to be sure we are doctrinally sound, but if we are holding on to a doctrine or belief that is contrary to God’s revealed word, we need not murmur, but obey.
The old adage, misery loves company, comes to play here. For when we get crossways with God through conviction or challenges, we usually don’t leave it there. We go out searching for folks to be on our side, or folks to debate. This is not healthy or beneficial. We are best to take our murmuring spirit and words directly to the Lord and ask Him to sort us out!
Are you murmuring over questions in your life? Do you struggle with obeying and agreeing with God’s Word? Are you a fault-finder?
“And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, he is a good man; others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.” John 7:12
People waste a lot of time murmuring. It is akin to worrying and fretting. If allowed to continue it will produce a rotten fruit in our lives. It gives way to wicked risings of the heart and spirit and permeates our character. It makes us unstable as we wrestle with the negatives. It makes us unthankful and will, if indulged, make us unfit for Christian duty.
It is so wasteful. It takes away the present comforts of what we have and creates more discontent. It eats out the good and sweetness of mercy and makes any affliction worse. It produces foolish attitudes and is a shameful to ourselves and those around us.
It is a dangerous practice for it provokes the wrath of God. We have only to read the Old Testament history of Israel to see how their murmuring through the wilderness provoked His wrath. It is not good practice to strive with your Maker.
If we are not humbled by our sin of murmuring and repent we will but return to it over and over thereby tempting God. No need trying to sugar coat it, all murmuring is sinful. We may try to put all sorts of excuses as to why we murmur, but the fact remains that God plainly instructs us to not allow it to be a part of our lives.
What excuses are you giving yourself for you murmuring? Are you wasting your time and your life in discontent? Why not abandon it totally and let your words and thoughts be only those that would praise the Lord?
“These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts…” Jude 16
This verse is found in relation to the ungodly, those who have committed ungodly deeds and spoken against the Lord. They are people full of pride and not afraid to speak great words about themselves in order to gain admiration. This is not good company for a Christian and all the more reason why Christians should not be among the murmurers.
Burroughs says that murmuring and discontent is exceedingly below a Christian. And he gives eight reasons.
First, it is below the relation of a Christian. The Christian has a stand with God, with Christ and with the Spirit. He is part of Christ’s body and a co-heir. He has a stand with angels and with his fellow Christians.
Secondly, murmuring is below the high dignity of a child of God.
Third, it is below the high spirit of a Christian – a spirit of murmuring is a childish spirit.
Fourth, it is below the profession of a Christian – our profession is to be dead to the world and alive to God.
Fifth, It is below that special grace of faith. We have life in Christ.
Sixth, it is below those helps that a Christian has more than others have – we have the promises of God.
Seventh, it is below the expectation that God has of his children.
Eighth, it is below what God has had from other Christians. As we look at Hebrews 11 we see our fellowmen serving under great stresses by faith, without complaining. They are our example.
Do you need more reasons to abandon your murmuring?