Thankfulness vs. Grumbling. If you were to give yourself a score in these two areas, how would you rate? How would your family, friends, and business colleagues rate you? How would God rate you?
We all have been around folks who are negative, always complaining, their glass is half empty, never seeing the good side of a situation. Those kinds of people are draining. They drain energy and life from all those around them.
When considering thankfulness vs. grumbling, scripture is quite clear regarding the standard that God expects. He wants His children to be filled with thankfulness to Him for all His provision.
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:1,2
“Do all things without complaining and disputing.” Philippians 2:13
God views our complaining much more seriously than we do. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they complained bitterly against God. In Numbers 14:11-38 there is an extended account of a conversation between God and Moses regarding complaining. God had provided for all the needs of the children of Israel every step of their deliverance and journey out of Egypt. Yet they had complained about what the did NOT have. God was ready to destroy all of them who had complained. Moses interceded on behalf of the people and God did not kill them. However, those people did not get to enter into the promised land; they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. . . . . All because they had been grumblers. See how seriously God looks upon our grumbling?
God delights in children who are vocal about their thankfulness for His watchful care. By expressing thanks we honor our heavenly Father before a watching world. Even when we are walking through valleys of challenge, hurt, or disappointment, we can be grateful for God’s presence, His Word, His protection, His faithfulness, His goodness, His son who provides our salvation. The list is endless of specific areas that God demonstrates His care. He wants us, as His children, to recognize those areas and talk about them. Simple, right? Not really.
This has been an area of awareness in my life for some time. The Holy Spirit showed me that I was grumbling and complaining when I needed to be expressing deep gratitude. I soon realized that I was complaining far more than I realized. What I discovered was that I could control what I verbalized relatively well but that I was still murmuring and complaining in my head. No one hears my thoughts or reads my mind . . . except God. I could hide my complaining thoughts from people but not from God and He is the One to whom I am accountable. Now I am working on taking captive those thoughts that are negative, complaining, ungrateful, murmuring, etc. It is an ongoing battle but the Holy Spirit is a good teacher. He shows me when my speech needs to change.
What I discovered is that I can’t implement Ps. 34:1 when I am complaining. As a reminder, that verse says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” It is not possible to complain and bless God at the same time. No wonder God wants us to bless Him!
Examine your speech patterns. Are your words filled with thankfulness or are you a complainer? Ask God to help you walk in greater obedience in this area. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18.