Don’t Complain!

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” -Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

Sometimes, we whine and complain when in reality there is no reason to do so. Our circumstances could be absolutely wonderful and even Google+Photoenvied by others. Yet blinded by our selfishness and greed, we voraciously demand for more. Instead of being gracious and grateful for the opportunities given to us, we take advantage of the goodwill shown to us by finding unscrupulous ways to satisfy our avarice. Under illusory injustices or blackmail we convince others to support us in falsely vilifying and extracting “compensation” from our hapless victims. However, there is a fine line between fighting injustice and committing extortion. Although we might convince everyone around us that our cause is true and pure, God is the one who tests the heart. If our complaints stem from our selfish wants and not out of a desire to uphold His truth and righteousness, God will make sure that our ulterior motives are brought to light.

As children of Christ we are called to serve while bearing with one another in love. When we allow Christ to invade our hearts and conform ourselves to His likeness, we will want to serve others in a way that would edify them and bear witness to the goodness of Christ residing in us. Making unjust complaints and using deception to get what we want runs contrary to who we are representing on Earth. Wherever we are placed, God has appointed people in our lives so that we may display His mercy, grace, and love in our service and interactions with them. Unless the people we serve truly overstep God’s Laws, we are not to raise our voice in resolute opposition towards their benevolence. When we allow Christ to purge us of our sinful nature, we will be able to see through His eyes the truth of our circumstances and the world around us. Where God’s righteousness and truth are upheld, we are to continue in its preservation and not seek to destroy it. Where injustice truly rears its head, we are to condemn it. However, we should not condemn injustice by committing more injustice. Rather we are to fight against it in a manner that is in keeping with God’s expectations for us to live a life that is above reproach. In this way, through God’s power and guidance, we will walk in a manner that is set apart from the crooked and depraved of this generation; bearing Christ’s Light to the world.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Letting Go With Grace

“…a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,” -Ecclesiastes 3:6 (NIV)

Autumn has always had a special place for me as a season. Not only is it wonderful to see hues of red, orange, and yellow painted on the leaves,Google+Photo but watching the same leaves fall gracefully from the trees has always illustrated an essential truth for me. God has appointed a time for each and every leaf to detach itself from the tree; thereby making it bare. But suppose if a tree refused to give up its beautiful shades of color? Afraid of being stripped of its glory, what if the tree defiantly retained its leaves of red, orange, and yellow throughout the snows of winter? If that happened however, how will the new leaves grow? How will the blossoms of spring flourish? The two simply cannot co-exist together.

Often we do not want to let go of certain things in our lives. They could be perfectly wonderful things in and of themselves. Material possessions, successful careers, fulfilling relationships, all of these can be extremely hard to let go. But when the hour has come for them to pass, we are hesitant to accept that fact. We become angry and bitter with God for allowing such suffering to visit us. In our limited human foresight we fail to see that God has a wonderful plan for our lives. Just as the autumn leaves need to part in order to make room for the beauty of spring, God promises that if we surrender everything to Him and let go of the things that are holding us back, He will bring about beautiful changes in our lives that will bear witness to His love and faithfulness. All He expects of us is to simply wait on Him and allow Him to fulfill His good and perfect will for our lives. The only thing that will stand between us and true restoration and healing is our unhealthy attachment to the past and to wrong attitudes that we harbor. With grace and with Christ’s indwelling in our lives, let us leave behind all that which needs to be let go and embrace the future He is preparing for us, knowing that Christ is the one who will sustain and preserve us through all uncertainty.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

His Grace is Enough

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

We all have areas in our lives where we fall prey to temptation and ensnare ourselves in sin. Although our pride would like to tell us that we areGoogle+Photo of a perfect breed cut above the rest, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we can all point to areas in our lives which reveal our human weakness and fallibility. In light of this fact, it is easy to become discouraged and chained by despair. We tell ourselves that we are not good enough; that we have not attained that state of perfection, which everyone else around us seems to have achieved, in order to serve God. Such an attitude not only hinders us in our Christian walk, but it also sows the seeds of bitterness and insecurity in our hearts.

Throughout the Bible, God uses sinful people to fulfill His perfect will. Moses was a murderer and yet it was he whom God choose to lead the Israelite out of Egypt. Jonah was disobedient towards God and disliked the people of Nineveh; deeming them to be not worthy of God’s mercy. Yet God was able to use him to bring that city into a right relationship with their Creator. Paul, the man responsible for writing much of the New Testament, struggled with what he referred to as his “thorn in the flesh.” What Paul actually meant when he said this is uncertain, but it is sometimes interpreted as an area of his life that often harassed him with temptations. God, because He is loving and all-powerful, is able to work through us despite our sinful inclinations. Yet He can only work through us if we have accepted His redemptive sacrifice on the cross for our sin and allowed Him to dwell in our hearts. We are not saved because of how holy we are, but solely because of God’s grace which He has lovingly bestowed upon us.

Though sin’s hold on our lives has been broken through the shedding of Christ’s blood, there will be times when, because of our human weakness, we will fall into sin. Yet as long as Christ lives and works within our hearts, there is always forgiveness if we come before Him with a repentant spirit. Satan would like us to believe that we are of no use to God because of our wickedness. But God says that He will pick us up when we fall. In His love and compassion He will never give up on us. If we allow Him, He will empower and strengthen us to do His work despite our weaknesses so that we may not boast of any efforts of our own; but boast in the redemptive power of Christ and what He can do for all who come to Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.