By Lebogang Sewela, South Africa:
There are plenty of malevolent spirits that tend to trouble many Christians, such as 'the spirit, of fear, the spirit laziness and many more others'. There is one explicit spirit that I want to focus on, that which is the spirit of complaining. Recently I learned that many Christians battle with this one spirit. I used to enjoy complaining, although I managed to justify my grumblings with the fact that I don't do it often. That was the secret weapon I used to defend myself against any sort of condemnation. I simply justified, and I got away with it without feeling any guilt.
One Sunday after a church service I got home and I was exhausted, and all I could think about was getting to bed. As I got to bed attempting to get some rest the presence of God came upon me so mightily and I began to shiver. I started to pray in the Spirit and the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart a Scripture from one of Paul's letters; Philippians 2:14-15a. It states – “Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless,” – NKJV. Paul used the adjective [all] which is a quantifier used to indicate the whole amount of everything. This means he left no room for any form of rationalism. He meant we should not complain entirely. I felt rebuked me with this scripture, and as I meditated upon it, I gained understanding, realising that I could not get away with justifying my complaining any longer.
As I was doing my research on complaining I came across an article by Pastor Steve he stated that: “I believe that the root issue for both inadequacy and complaining is self-centeredness.” Most Christians complain because they want everything to gratify them, and when things don't satisfy them they grumble or criticize. For instance; if you are in a meeting and they request for a certain amount of contribution and in your mind it does not seem to be sensible, you will find yourself complaining. This is where there the constituent of self – centeredness comes in. Somehow we have the misconception that everything that is done has to please us. At times you will find people going as a far as complaining about songs in church: Complaining that the songs did not move their spirit or perhaps the sermon was not well preached. That is where we miss the point; the bible makes it clear: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” ESV. David also said in the Psalms: “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain” ESV. If we can have a mind-set that – to live is Christ we can then enable our minds to only focus on Him and not focus on self-gain. It's not going to be hot every day just because you like the heat. No, it does not work like that, we should learn to be content in all circumstances, learn when to be satisfied and when not to be satisfied and in that, we will not have to complain when we are not satisfied. It's beyond doubt that there are going to be things we do not like or things that bother us but the bible says 'do not let your hearts be troubled and it also says guard your heart.'
Complaining can be quite dangerous because it can be such an insusceptible spirit that people are not even aware of. You can find yourself complaining over nonsensical things, such as “they did not tune that song correctly” it really sounds like a trivial complaint but we must be mindful that every issue starts with a small seed that grows with time. We need to be careful what seeds we plant in ourselves for it will bear the fruit of what we have planted. The next stage we will find ourselves complaining about God and losing our faith.
Do not let your hearts be troubled over minor things. If in the church you fellowship at there are things that you do not like, instead of complaining choose to seek for something positive you can say to overshadow what you do not like about the church. You do not have to always be seeking for faults; the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. You will find that in that same church that's where you received Christ or maybe that's where you learned about the wisdom of God, those are the positive aspects that you can focus on to remain blameless as the bible requires. Rather than focusing on the fact that the pastor favours Mrs A than Mrs B, let your focus be steadfast on God, be deafened to all gossip and be sightless to all faults, you will not miss your blessing because you are a focused child of God. Sometimes it's possible to miss your blessing because your focus was not positioned in the right place, Shift your focus!