No Grumbling Zone
Today at the campground we will be taking a look at Philippians 2:14-18. As Paul often does, after talking about theology for a bit, he begins to demonstrate how that should start looking when played out in our lives.
Paul begins this paragraph by writing Do all things without grumbling or disputing. The all things Paul refers to is everything involved in the previous “work out your own salvation.” So, yes, Paul means we should go through our lives with our salvation being played out without grumbling or disputing. Grumbling can be described as simply have emotional reactions to things. We shouldn’t just have emotional reactions to events that happen in our lives leading to grumbling.
Disputing, on the other hand, can be described as an intellectual argument. We have all probably run across those who want to have an argument no matter the subject.
Why, though? Why would Paul be concerned with grumbling and disputing? Why should all things be done without them? So that you can prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.
Paul seems to be saying that grumbling and disputing hurt your testimony. It causes you to live a life that is not blameless or innocent. We should be living lives above reproach, different from the world we live in. Just as Jesus was the light of the world, we, His representatives now, are lights in the world to this world.
Is that is? Is that the only reason to not grumble and dispute? Paul goes on to say that we are hholding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain not toil in vain. Not only does grumbling and disputing hurt our testimony, but it also affects our spiritual life. Neither of these draws us closer to the Lord or builds us up spiritually. They do not help us to hold fast to the word of life.
It also affects our spiritual leaders and mentors. Paul would not be able to glory in those who grumbled and disputed. He would feel as thought he had done all of his work in vain if those marked the Philippians lives.
Paul then writes some words that I think few of really can relate to in our lives. He says But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the service and sacrifice of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
At the time of writing this, Paul is imprisoned. He is chained to a jailer, under house arrest for his faith. His attitude? It is not one of grumbling and disputing. His attitude is one of sacrifice and joy. He is living out the life he is encouraging his readers and us to live. If anyone had a reason to grumble or argue, it was Paul. Instead, he looked at himself as a joyful sacrifice.
How does Paul end the paragraph? You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. Paul is living a life so confidently in the Lord that he encourages us to live like him. Rejoice in life no matter the circumstances. Share that joy rather than grumble and dispute.
To summarize what Paul is saying, we should live lives that reflect joy and rejoicing, rather than grumbling and disputing. This is a kind of life worth sharing with others.