Grumbling and Complaining

Read: Philippians 2:12-18

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. (v. 14 NIV)

In this section of Philippians Paul describes Christians as those who “shine as lights in the world” (v. 15). In other words, obedient followers of Christ are to reflect the light of Christ to those living in spiritual darkness. The apostle gives some illustrations of how we can shine in our culture. The first thing he suggests is that we are to shine rather than whine. Verse 14 literally reads: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Some translations use complaining, or questioning. Wow, is he kidding? No, he is not. Part of our testimony to the light of Christ means eliminating “grumbling” from our behavior. The word describes murmuring, expressing of dissatisfaction, or muttering negatively under our breath. Grumbling includes whispered complaints, talking in secret against someone, and making negative comments about others behind their backs. Ouch! If that’s not enough, Paul adds the word “arguing,” which refers to skeptical questioning and divisive criticism within the church.

Why mention those? Because such behaviors reflect badly on Jesus Christ and obscure the light of the gospel. When Christian conversation is laced with complaints and personal attacks, Christians have lost their distinctive quality as children of God in a world characterized by such negative actions.

How are we doing on the complaining and arguing Richter scale? Our words reflect a lot about us; may they reflect the light of Christ.

As you pray, ask God to help you reflect the light of Christ.

About the Author

David Walls is a pastor and writer who has served in ministry for more than 40 years.

This entry is part 23 of 31 in the series Philippians: To All the Saints