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Focus: Breaking the habit of grumbling
James 5:9 (CEB) Don’t grumble against one another, brothers, so that you won’t come under condemnation. Look! the Judge is standing at the door!
There are usually one or more reasons why people become depressed or dependent. Something happened, and painful circumstances led to a condition. Normally, the condition that was acquired came on little by little. One thing led to another, and another, and another. It might not have been a conscious choice—but it happened—and technically it was a choice.
As we work toward recovery, we need to look at any effects that might still be lingering. Even in recovery, depression and dependency has most likely taken a serious toll on our attitude. For a full recovery, we need to work on choosing to overcome related destructive and negative behavior that developed a little at a time—along with the condition.
Some behavior habits that go along with depression and addiction are as hard to break as any habit of substance abuse. Some behavior problems can actually get worse as we try to recover. It’s an emotional way of acting out the discomfort we’re feeling on the inside. Recovery is not an easy journey. Some things take time.
The road to freedom for the Israelites of Bible times was a long, long trip. Leaving Egypt and slavery wasn’t a quick fix, by any means. Even though they had seen the parting of the Red Sea and water come out of a rock where there was no water before—the Bible says the children of Israel had ‘issues’. Some turned to idolatry, some were unwilling to take responsibility, some engaged in sexual immorality, and some grumbled.
God had gone to great lengths to deliver them out of the bondage that had held them captive for 400 years as a nation. You would think they would have been eager to obey, now that they didn’t have to do hard labor as slaves anymore. But, even though they were free—they were ungrateful. They had a lot of resentment against their leadership and they murmured among themselves about it. It wasn’t always what was said, it was the groaning, the sighing, the non-verbal sounds they made that showed disapproval.
God was very displeased by their lack of gratitude. In fact, He was so displeased that the grumblers never got to see the land flowing with milk and honey—the promised land God was leading them to. Their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
What does grumbling represent? It’s an absence of the fruit of the Spirit. When a person is rooted and grounded in their relationship with God, there will be characteristic evidence of His presence in their life. The evidence is seen through their behavior—but their behavior is really the visible part of who they are deep down inside.
When we go through hard times, it’s like being squeezed—but not in a good way. There is a saying that goes like this: When we are squeezed, what comes out is what’s on the inside. If the Spirit of God is living in us—what should be seen in us when we are squeezed is: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. If the Spirit of God is not in us, when we are squeezed—what is usually seen is just the opposite: hatred, anger, discontent, impatience, harshness, evil, suspicion, resentment, and lack of self-control.
Probably all of us have grumbled at some point about someone who mistreated us, or offended us. Maybe some of us still do it everyday without giving it a thought. If we have a bad attitude and are grumbling—we often excuse ourselves by saying we didn’t sleep well or we’re just having a bad day.
The Word of God is clear—yet, isn’t it amazing how we take some scriptures so lightly? James 5:9 is a New Testament verse. It says grumblers will be judged and are at risk of condemnation. In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul is writing to a New Testament church. He recounts the story of the Israelites and adds, “These things happened as examples so that we wouldn’t set our hearts on evil things because of disobedience.” He further adds that some who grumbled were destroyed by the Destroying Angel.
God didn’t like grumbling in the times of Moses, He didn’t like it in the days of the apostle Paul, and He doesn’t like it today. We need to repent and take responsibility for a bad habit that doesn’t accomplish anything good—that God hates.
Declaration: I will find new strength by taking responsibility of my tendency to grumble and be ungrateful for what I have and my circumstances. With the help of God, I will stop saying negative words and making negative sounds to show my disapproval when things don’t go my way.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.