Saturday, July 07, 2007


Philippians 2:14-16 – Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life,…

These verses have “talked” to me for a long time, and yet I keep gleaning more from them. Sometimes I get frustrated with my slow growth, but since I’ll never be perfect (here on earth) progress no matter how slow, is good.
During my recent “troubles” with medication, I learned some of the power of this truth.
Just before this scripture, verse 5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” It’s important that we pay attention to what we are “telling” ourselves.*
We are to imitate the Lord Jesus. Also in this section are verses 12 and13 “Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” These all connect, with the next verse saying not to complain. There are reasons for this.
As I struggled daily with exhaustion and stomach upset, I tried to focus on things to be thankful for. But, more often than not, I found myself muttering how bad or tired I felt. While many would say that’s perfectly understandable, it doesn’t make it right, and it didn’t make me feel any better. (There is a difference between acknowledging or recognizing suffering and continuously dwelling on it.)
In the midst of this, I sensed I needed to get into the Word of God more -- to just read it. I’ve learned over the years nothing strengthens my faith like reading God’s word and believe me, I needed strength. So I made a commitment to read some each day, other than my morning time. When I first started it seemed dry and didn’t seem to be sinking in (like I thought it should), but I persisted. After a few days I could sense something changing in me, a stronger desire for the things of God. Praise His name!
Not long after this I made the decision to go back to the medication I’d been on before. This was very difficult, and at first I wasn’t sure it was the right choice. I believe that being able to decide was directly related to my returned focus on God. As time has passed I feel more and more certain it was God, Himself directing me.
We may think we should be able to complain, but when we grumble our focus is on our self, not God, and according to Isaiah 26:3 we won’t have peace. Also we’re not able to “hear” God give us guidance through His word, and if that’s the case, we’re pretty much stuck, without hope or help. When we protest against our circumstances we’re not trusting God, somewhat like when a child wants his father to fix a toy, but he doesn’t want to let go of it. In this instance it will never get fixed.
As Christians we do not need to complain, because God has provided all we need. But we do need to set our mind on Him, believing and trusting that 1) He knows where we are, and in what condition, 2) He cares deeply and 3) He longs to give us all we need.
And practice filling our mouths with praise to Him for all He is and does. Because He does do marvelous things, not the least is the change He works in us.
Kathy McArthur

*Note: The root of our grumbling to others audibly, begins in our own thinking.