I’ve been sick on a pretty regular basis — I’ve gotten a hold of the same “bug” too many times. I have been known to have a good case of the “not-so-holy grumbles.” Have you ever had them? At the time, it seems to feel good to grumble about:
- hot (or cold, depending on where you live) weather
- the slow driver in front of you
- poor food/service at a restaurant
- giving without receiving
- having to complete someone else’s job
- not making/having enough money at the end of the month
- having to pick up after someone else has left a mess (emotional or physical)
What are your favorite grumbles? You have one. We all do. Scripture acknowledges that propensity when we are commanded not to grumble (there would be no need for the instruction if grumbling wasn’t a problem). Scripture also isn’t shy about pointing out the grumbles of believers in the early church: public law suits between believers (1 Cor. 6:1ff), “biting and devouring” in the church (Gal. 5:15), and interpersonal conflict (Phil. 4:2; it even occurred between men like Paul and Barnabas, Acts 15:36ff!).
What is the prescription for this malady? Among the best solutions is one offered in Philippians: holding fast to the word of life.
To “hold fast” to the Word of life (Scripture) can mean two things. It can mean holding onto it by the act of obedience to it, or it can mean holding it out to others by the act of offering its truths to them through the gospel.
In obedience we conform our wills to the will of God, demonstrating our trust in Him (and thereby remove the potential for grumbling and arguing). And as we obey more and more fully, we also position ourselves to be ready, clean vessels to offer the word of life to a needy and dying world.
Why is it so important to hold onto this Word of life? Because as the Word of life, Scripture:
- gives life (2 Tim. 3:14-15)
- sustains life (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
- prevents wandering away from life (2 Tim. 4:2-4)
- provides the certain hope of eternal life (John 6:68)
Simply said, Scripture incorporated into my life will preserve the life of my relationships (beginning with my relationship with Christ), and maintain purity in both my doctrine and my life.
Grumbling will destroy my life; obedience to God will preserve my life.