Remove the Rock of Grumbling – Philippians 2:14
Humanity has a long history of sin, especially grumbling. We don’t see it as very serious and probably none of us is innocent of this sin. But God knew the trouble it could lead to from the beginning. To paraphrase a familiar drug analogy, grumbling can be called the gateway sin that leads to more dangerous sins (that is, from a human perspective) like rebellion, retribution, and even murder. After all, Adam was grumbling about Eve, Eve about the snake, and Cain about Abel.
That’s probably why God gives us so many warnings. For instance, in Phil 2:14 (NASB), God says “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” and in 1 Thess 5:16-18 (NASB), He says “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
In case you think you’re not a grumbler, note that the Hebrew and Greek words translated as grumbling can also mean back biting, whining, complaining, or murmuring.
But come on, we may think to ourselves, it’s so easy to grumble, complain, and whine. Most times we don’t even recognize when we’re doing it. And such minor sins don’t count much, right? Is it really even a sin? Surely He can easily overlook that, can’t He? Maybe you think, my life’s hard and it’s impossible not to grumble and complain about something…isn’t it?
He knows all this. But we’re forgetting who we’re talking to. He became a human just like one of us, and He lived through circumstances we cannot even imagine. If anyone had a legitimate excuse to complain and grumble, it was surely Him. But Hebrews 4:15 tells us He didn’t: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” He didn’t give in. Not to grumbling, not to any sin.
And praise God that He didn’t, because if He had given into the tiniest temptation, we would be doomed to eternity in hell. But because He refused to indulge this selfish desire (and many others we’re told), He defeated Satan, destroyed death, and enabled the Father to send us the Holy Spirit which is the means by which He communicates with us and helps us to resist sin—even grumbling—until we’re finally home with Him. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 He says so: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
So the next time you’re tempted to grumble or complain, or even when you realize you’re doing it, stop, breathe, and ask for help (and forgiveness, if you’re guilty) and receive help from a loving God who wants to see you succeed: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16 (NASB)