Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Complaining? Nip it, zip it!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Corinthians 10:1-17

TO CHEW ON: “Nor (let us) complain as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” 1 Corinthians 10:10

Here, alongside grave sins like idolatry, sexual immorality, and tempting Christ we find complaining? There must be some mistake! How can this common attitude, that most of us indulge in daily, be so bad?

The story referred to here happened when Korah, Dathan and Abiram challenged Moses and Aaron’s leadership during the Israelites’ 40 years in the wilderness. When they confronted Moses saying they were every bit as much leaders as he was, the earth opened and “swallowed them up.” Then fire from God consumed 250 others who were offering incense unlawfully. The next day the “congregation” of Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” Immediately God sent a plague to destroy the grumblers (read the entire store in Numbers 16).

In this example the complaint was against leadership—something we never complain about, right? (Ahem!) The drastic action of God in defending Moses and Aaron, the leaders He had appointed, shows how seriously He views this sin.

The word “complain” here doesn’t have a Greek equivalent (no number in Strong’s concordance), but its range of meaning is borne out by the various translations: Phillips – “curse the lot,”; NASB - “grumble”; Amplified - “discontentedly complain”; Message – “stir up discontent”; Good News – “complain”; Living Bible – “murmur against God.”

Complaining / grumbling is an example of an attitude leading to action that has its roots in our thoughts. A complaining, grumbling tongue starts with complaining, grumbling thoughts like: I deserve better than this; I can’t trust God with this situation; He obviously doesn’t know what He’s doing; I know better than He does. They are thoughts of rebellion toward God. When we express these thoughts, we multiply our sin by stirring up discontent in others.

So next time your thoughts toward your pastor or your church’s leadership turn in a critical, complaining direction, nip them in the bud. Replace them with thoughts and words of intercession. For sure zip your mouth from complaining and grumbling to others.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the leaders You have placed over me. Help me to remember to pray for them daily. Amen

MORE: Intercession for Pastors
Barb Billett’s wonderful book Praying With Fire has a prayer for pastors. Based on words straight from the Bible, it is a good prayer to pray regularly for our leaders. It begins:

"Father, in the name of Jesus, I confess, that the Spirit of the Lord: the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, rests upon Pastor _____. I pray that as Your Spirit rests mightily upon Pastor _____, we believe he has quick understanding.
I confess and believe that You Lord, have anointed and qualified him to preach the gospel to the meek, the poor, and the afflicted. You have anointed Pastor _____ to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the physical and spiritual captives, and the opening of the prison doors and of the eyes of those who are bound..."
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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