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How do you respond to frustration? A common response is to grumble and complain. We encounter situations everyday that can cause us frustration. A cursory reading of the Gospels reveals that Jesus faced more of His share of frustrations and personal attacks, yet He never grumbled or complained. The Apostle Paul encouraged us to reflect that same attitude to those around us,

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; (Philippians 2:14)

We may find it easy to do some things without grumbling or disputing, but when Paul includes all things, that seems to be an unreasonable test of our sanctification. His command is a present tense verb, the implication is to keep on responding without grumbling or disputing. This seems to be a difficult task, since mankind has a propensity to focus on the negative. Consider that shortly after the amazing Red Sea experience of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the people started grumbling,

Moses said, “This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD.” (Exodus 16:8)

Moses revealed that their grumblings were actually against the Lord. They felt that God was not providing for them all that they thought He should. If we focus our attention on what we have and what God has done for us, rather than what we lack, we discover there is no need for grumbling or disputing. Grumbling requires no special talent, effort, or depth of character. Cicero wisely observed, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”

Paul reminded the Church at Corinth, that the Israelite’s frustration in the desert was a lesson for us so that we can vicariously learn from their negative example,

Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:10-11)

What causes you to grumble and complain? If you don’t know, ask a close friend. Your demeanor during times of frustration reveals your true character. Paul reveals the reason why you should manifest godly behavior in the following verse,

so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:15)

The word “blameless” literally means without fault. The word innocent conveys the idea of being pure and unadulterated. As a child of God, you appear as a light in dark and troubled world. The stars appear brightest when it is the darkest. Your moral light is a reflection of God’s divine glory, may your light shine for His glory!

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