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Friday, November 8, 2013

Holding to hopelessness

(photo taken by Leigh and Becca -
Observation: Complaining creates a deep hole of self pity that makes seeing Christ's love incredibly difficult.  We lose sight of Christ and our mission to love one another, and create a cycle where we only focus on ourselves and our discomfort/displeasure/discontentment. 
14 "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain." Philippians 2

Growing up, my Dad would always sing the verse-inspired song "a joyful heart makes a cheerful face (3x), do you HAVE a cheerful face?!" in which he'd get real close to our faces and usually tickle us until we did have a cheerful face. However, if we were set on being grumpy, he also would conversationally quote Phil 2:14 because the song only worked if we were partially grumpy. So I guess you could say it's a pet peeve of mine to hear someone complain- it's not shining like a star for Christ, it's holding to perceived hopelessness! 

Take Job for example:
“I loathe my very life;
    therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
    and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
 I say to God: Do not declare me guilty,
    but tell me what charges you have against me.
3Does it please you to oppress me,
    to spurn the work of your hands,
    while you smile on the plans of the wicked."

I admire his honesty with God.  But it's with God.  Our complaining to each other or ourselves is not beneficial (there is a difference between complaining and sharing your pains with someone for help or prayer).  Job obviously was crying out to God because He is the only one that can do something about it.  Our daily situations generally have something to do with our actions (or complacency), and we have to choose whether we are going to listen to and live for Christ or stay in "woe is me" land.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."1 Thessalonians 5:10-13

Building up and loving on those that are working hard; for you this could be your career, tending the yard, changing a diaper, spiritually encouraging one another, etc.. Building also requires a strong foundation.  If we want to grow, we have to be willing to take healthy criticism and challenge ourselves while living in Christ's hope for our lives.  A joyful heart in all we do isn't easy, but man oh man will it allow for Christ's light to shine!

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13


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