Joyce Meyer — Stop Complaining
Well, today is a special holiday that we call thanksgiving and I hope you have a great one today. But I believe every day should be thanksgiving. I believe one of the most important things that we can do is be thankful for our lives and all that God gives and does for us. Too often, we focus on what we don't have or on what could be different, but we need to focus on what God has blessed us with and that is a new life in him. And this gives us a new perspective. Our mind can be renewed, our attitude can be affected, and our joy can overflow. And I'm thankful for all that I have in Christ.
Today, we're talking about complaining, which seems to be the opposite of being thankful, but I'd like to say you complain and remain exactly where you're at or you can praise and be raised out of the situation. And the best antidote for complaining is to show gratitude. Watch this and I'll be back with some closing thoughts.
I want to talk to you today about not complaining. The title of my message is "Stop complaining". Now, let me say something, and I'm very sincere when I say this. This is obviously not the first time in my life I've taught on not complaining but at the beginning of this year, I felt like that God spoke something to me and I really believe that he wants me to share this with people. I was just sitting one morning and praying and I felt like the Lord said to me, "If you're gonna complain about something, don't bother to pray about it". So I want to just let that settle there for a minute. If you're gonna complain about something, don't bother to pray about it.
You know, God is not in charge of complaints. He doesn't answer complaints. He answers prayers of faith. So when we pray, if we really believe that God heard us and that he's working on the situation that we can expect change, then there really should be no reason to complain after that. Amen? And I actually believe... and I don't say this kind of thing loosely, you know? I hope and pray and believe that when I preach, I'm bringing a word from God. But I think that there are certain words from God that we need to really perk up and say, "God's really saying something". And although this is very simple, I really believe that God is showing me and that he wants me to get across to you that all the complaining that's going on in the world today... and how many of you know the world is just full of complaining? I mean, it's just everywhere you go is just complaining, complaining, complaining, complaining, complaining.
And I think that it is hurting our society more than what we can even imagine. I think it's hurting families. I think it's hurting the church. And if anybody should not be complaining, it should be Christians who are not complaining. And I believe that the antidote for complaining is being more aggressive in thanksgiving and gratitude. So I want to share with you a little exercise that I think that you can do at anytime. I've been doing this and I'm finding it very refreshing and, that is simply to stop several times a day and just say, "Lord, I want to just live this moment that I'm in".
You know so often we're breathing but we're not really living the moment that we're in. We're in such a frustrated uproar over all the things that are going on in our lives that so much of our day just flies by and at night we don't even really know what we did, but we know it was pretty frustrating and we didn't enjoy all that much of the day. And I think it's a very good exercise to stop several times a day and just say, "Now, Lord, I'm gonna enter into this moment and really just live this moment", and to think about and to tell God what you're thankful for at that particular moment in your life.
I did that this morning when I got up. I've done it once since then. And so when I think about what I'm thankful for right now... and I mean I can go off on a thousand different things, but if I think about what I'm thankful for right now, you know, I'm thankful to be here today. But I'm also thankful that you're here today because I have done this... I remember a meeting that I did when my ministry was just getting off the ground where there were only nine people there and I brought five of them with me. So I'm just really grateful that you're here today because it would not be very much fun at all if I was here and you weren't here. amen?
And you should be grateful to be here today because there's so many people that are home depressed and getting over hangovers and fighting with somebody and you're not one of them this morning. You're here in the house of God. I'm grateful to be here in this beautiful building today because I've preached in places that were not this good-looking. I remember preaching in places, banquet rooms and rooms and every kind of little meeting room that you can find and literally, our team having to go in and clean up the banquet chicken from the night before off the floor so we could preach. And I remember God telling me in the very, very beginning of our ministry, "If you can not complain about where you go to do meetings, the day will come when you'll be able to go anywhere you want to and hold a meeting".
Well, that's pretty much true today, but I had to go through a lot of rough places and difficult places. And I think a lot of people never get to where they want to be because they'll never stop complaining about where they're at. I must say it again. A lot of people will never get to where they want to be because they will never stop complaining about where they're at. The word "Complain" means to remain or to stay overnight. So if you want to stay right where you're at, just keep complaining about it and I can pretty much guarantee you that you'll still be there this time next year. But if you want to get raised out of that situation, then start praising God. When you praise, you're raised. When you complain, you remain. Come on, give God a little praise.
Now the easiest thing in the world to do is complain. You don't have to try to. Our flesh, we all have one and we're gonna have one 'til Jesus comes back, must be disciplined by Walking in the Spirit. And the flesh does not like to be uncomfortable or interrupted or inconvenienced in any way. And the moment that it is, you're gonna have some facial expression, some body language, some emotion is gonna rise up. And I just think that God wants us to startle the world, to shock the world, by being a body of people that don't complain and murmur and find fault, but actually are really grateful and thankful for every little thing that we can find to be grateful and thankful for.
Well, I'm gonna believe that you're gonna get this today and that you're gonna study this on your own. I know we hear a lot about being thankful, but I believe that we can have thank power in our life. I think that being thankful is powerful, and I'm very concerned about all the murmuring, grumbling and complaining that's going on in the world today. So many people are complaining about the government. Well, whatever you think. There are obviously problems that sometimes need to be discussed and we need to confront them and do something about them. But you know what? Complaining doesn't change anything. It does not change anything. All it does is just make the devil happy and he's just like, "Yeah, go ahead, you silly people. Just complain, complain, complain, complain and don't do anything about it". And that's what people do. They complain, but they don't do a thing to change it.
Let me tell you something that I find interesting, Habakkuk had a complaint. The Bible says that he went to God with his complaint. And you know what God said to him? "Get a vision and write it down so plainly that everybody who passes by might be able to read it". So I love that. Here's a prophet of God who had a complaint, went to God with his complaint and God said, "Get a vision". We don't need a complaint. We need a vision. And we don't need to be complaining about our government, our nation. What we need to do is get a vision to stand up and be the way that we should be and believe that God can use us to make a difference.
Martin Luther had a complaint about racism, but he had a vision to change it. Amen? It won't do you any good to complain about all your debt. Get a vision to get out of debt. Ooh, this is good. It won't do you any good to complain about what you think is your bad marriage. Get a vision, pray, ask God, "What can I do to make this better? Is there something that you can do through me to make this better"? You see this passivity and inactivity of just sitting around and complaining about everything that's going wrong is only compounding the problem. It is not making anything any better. Takes energy to complain, but it drains you. It sucks the life right out of you.
There's many things that I'm thankful for right now. I'm thankful that I don't have a headache today because for 10 years I preached when I had migraine headaches. Nobody didn't know that. I didn't have one every time I got up to preach, but many times while I was preaching, I would feel like I had a knife sticking in my eye. I'm grateful today that my back is not hurting because I've had back issues in my life and a couple of years ago, I had a spell where my back was hurting really, really bad for 4 months, and nobody knew it but I would stand and preach and by the time I'd get off the platform, I could barely move. And I'm grateful that I don't have a headache today and I don't have a backache today. Amen? I'm grateful that I don't look as old as I am. Whoo, that's big. Hallelujah. I'm grateful that at my age, God's given me the grace to go the gym and work out with weights three times a week. You ought to see the muscle this girl's got. Check that out. Whoo, hallelujah.
I still shop in the young ladies' department, I don't... you know, there's a line when you go to the store. There's an area you start to float into where everything gets to looking boxy and that's the older people's department. I don't go in there. I stay over here where it's still got a little curve. I'm grateful that I get to go home today 'cause I haven't been home in 2 weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing my dog. I'm grateful for so many things. And I intend, when I get on the plane this afternoon, to just have another little moment with God and say, "Now, what am I thankful for right now"?
I think if we'll be more aggressive in actually taking several times a day and saying, "God, what am I thankful for right now"? You can capture that moment. You can own that moment and you'll be amazed at how it's gonna cheer you up if you'll do that. Is anybody getting what I'm saying today? You know, there's not a person in here today that doesn't have something to be thankful for. I'm thankful this morning when I got up, I said, "God, I am thankful that I can walk and talk and see and hear". Wow. How amazing that is.
Philippians 4:6, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything," that includes your thing, "But in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God". This doesn't say, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition with complaining". I think that when we are not thankful... and you know we can say, "Well, I'm a thankful person," but the Bible says be thankful and say so. Be thankful and say so. I think that we actually quench the Holy Spirit. I think that we hinder the beautiful, wonderful, powerful Holy Spirit from being able to do what he really wants to do in our life, just through complaining.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 through 19, is this something anybody can use today? I'm not saying that you don't have something to complain about. I'm just saying it won't do any good. So there's really no point in wasting our energy any longer. You know, you've got a certain amount of energy for life. I believe that God showed me this one time that everybody has got a certain amount of energy assigned to them for their life and if you waste it on goofy stuff, then you don't have the energy that you need for the real things that God has called you to do. And I'm all about conserving all the energy that I can so I can do what I'm doing for God as long as I possibly can. I don't have anymore energy to waste being mad. It takes a lot of energy to get mad. I mean a real good 2-or-3-day emotional fit just can wear you out. And I just don't have the time for that anymore. I don't have the time to get upset every time some little something happens in my life that I'm not expecting 'cause life is full of that stuff.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 through 19: "Be happy in your faith and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually" now notice it doesn't say, "Feel happy, feel glad". It says, "Be happy, be glad". You know, you don't have to feel something to be something. I don't have to feel confident to be confident. I can know that I'm confident. I don't have to feel like loving people and being good to them to be loving and to be kind. One of the biggest problems we have is we wait to feel like doing everything and we don't have to do that. We can be what God has encouraged us to be through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can live on the other side of our feelings. "Be unceasing in prayer praying perseveringly". Learn how to pray your way through the day. Let prayer be just like breathing. It just weaves in and out of your life. "Thank God in everything no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus the revealer and mediator of his will. And do not quench (suppress or subdue) the Holy spirit".
I think that we have to put all that together. I think if we're happy, we're glad hearted, we're praying, we're thanking God in every circumstance, it just throws a door wide open for God to work full force in our lives. I think complaining, grumbling, faultfinding, is a much bigger problem than what we can ever imagine that it is, and I'm committed more than ever in my life to trying to do everything that I can to be thankful to God and to say so, and not only to God, but to other people. We need to tell the people in our life that we appreciate, that we appreciate them. You know something I'm thankful for? I'm thankful for all the people that help me do what God has called me to do.
Dave and I sat this morning before we came over here and we were talking about just how amazing it is, all the people that God gives to make something like this happen. You have no idea how many people it takes for you to be able to walk in here on a Sunday morning and plop your cute, little bottom down and enjoy everything that's going on and then go on back out, get a Starbucks, have lunch and go home. I mean, it's amazing the amount of work that it takes and the dedicated volunteers. And what a shame it is if there are people who have the privilege of being in a place like this and you never bother to say thank you but you're quick to complain when there's something that you don't like. That is one of the greatest tragedies that we have in our world today and nothing shows how much we don't appreciate God any quicker than that. Amen?
Well, I decided in preparation for this message, 'cause I've known a while I was gonna preach it, I decided that I was gonna take about 8 weeks and keep a list of things that happened to me that I wasn't planning for, wasn't expecting that were inconvenient and irritating and that when I got to the end of that list, that I could work it into my message. So here's some things that have happened to me over the last 8 weeks. When I did this message last week, there were 33 and I now already have 37 on the list. Got two just this morning.
First thing that happened to me when I started keeping this list was I injured my back at the gym. My water leaked out of my humidifier and bubbled the wood on my table. I broke a fingernail. I twisted my wrist. I left some luggage on the plane, nursing home called about my mom two times. I spilled a red vitamin drink on a white couch. Dave hit a golf ball through a window on the golf course. I had to spend some money I didn't plan to spend replacing a couch I didn't plan to replace. All right, I hope you're ready for this. I got my toe caught in my underwear. And I pulled the tendons in my toe. I got it caught between my little toe and my next toe and I fell this way and my foot went that way and my toe swelled up and got black and blue.
When I showed it to my chiropractor, 'cause I wanted to make sure it wasn't broken, he said, "Oh, I guess you stubbed it, huh"? And I said, "No, actually I got it hung up in my underwear". He said, "Well, I have never heard of that in my whole life. You gotta be talented to do that". I had to tell my very independent 86-year-old aunt that she couldn't drive her car anymore. That wasn't a fun day. I had to replace my mother's TV because she can't hear it without turning it on warp speed and so we had to get her one that he could have these little TV ears with so she wasn't driving everybody else bananas.
I went to the SPA, decided I wanted to get a massage. I was out of town so I went to the SPA and this was a really, really nice hotel, and I'd heard they had a really nice SPA. So I went there and got a nice massage and enjoyed it. And came out, got my clothes out of the locker and went in a little changing room to change my clothes, and I got all dressed and couldn't find my pants. So I'm standing there thinking, what am I gonna do? So I put this robe on, went back out to the locker, looked again, no pants. Looked around the thing, no pants. Somehow or another I guess I didn't get my slacks in the locker, and I left them in the floor and somebody picked them up and did something with them.
So I'm here, I gotta go home and I have no pants. So I put the robe on. You gotta picture this. I put the robe on. I go upstairs in this very nice hotel to the desk where I had to check out and I said, "I have a very unique problem". Now keep in mind, it's not like nobody knows me. It's not like, you know, just... so she said, "Can I help you"? I said, "I've lost my pants". She said, "You've lost your pants"? I said, "They're not in my locker". You said, "You mean somebody stole your pants"? I said, "No, I don't think anybody stole them. I had other stuff in there they would have wanted. I must have not got them in there". So she sends me down there with a clerk and we look through all the laundry. We look through every locker in the place. I had no pants. I said, "You are gone have to let me wear this robe home. It's the only way that I can get home". She said, "Well, I tell you what. You just keep it. You can have it as a memento".
So then she said, "Wait a minute, I've got an idea". She said, "We have a gift shop across the lobby over there". She said, "You just go over there and they'll give you a pair of pants". And I'm thinking, okay, I gotta go through the lobby of this very fancy hotel in my robe, most of the people knowing who I am, go into the gift shop and say, "Could you give me a pair of pants"? So here I go through the lobby of the hotel. I went into the gift shop and the lady said, "They've already called me". They gave me a pair of pants and I got home. I have had so much fun with this.
Well, finally that afternoon they called me about 3 and said, "Oh, you know, Mrs. Meyer, we found your pants. They were laying here on the desk the whole time and somebody had just covered them up with an appointment book". Now you know what? I believe that God arranges these things for me just to have stories to tell you. So here's what I want to say, if you think that God cannot use you, I am running a worldwide ministry and I hurt my toe getting it hung up in my underwear and I lost my pants in the SPA. If God can use me, God can use you. Amen?
So here's some things that have happened to me over the last 8 weeks. Our water was off for 24 hours. My aunt had shingles in her eyes and had to go to an eye specialist. I had a situation I wasn't expecting at work with an employee. Dave had back surgery and couldn't go to Indonesia with me. I flew 47 hours in 7 days to get to Indonesia to minister to the people and while I was there for the first time in 5 years, the city flooded. Yes. While I was there, my aunt had to be taken to the hospital with pneumonia. Three hours after I got home from Indonesia with tremendous jet lag, I got a call from the hospital, "Somebody's gotta come get your aunt right now, we're releasing her".
Had another employee issue. Our website was down 2 days. The phones went off at the office one day. Jammed my toe into the leg of the couch but thankfully it wasn't the toe that I tore the tendons in, but it was on the same foot so now we have two toes that are messed up. Spilled a box of crackers in the pantry floor, and I mean, they cracked and went all over the place. Had to tell my aunt she had to move to the nursing home because she was no longer able to take care of herself. Had a stomach virus for 7 days. Fire alarms were being tested in my hotel all day. Ordered a bedspread and they shipped me the wrong one. This morning I made my coffee and I didn't have the pot all the way under the thing and so I ended up with part coffee and part grounds and had to make it over.
I'm telling you what, 10 years ago, those 8 weeks, I would have gotten so mad and so frustrated and I would have run my mouth off and I would have said, "I just can't believe it. Can you believe it...? Why me? Why does this stuff always happen to me"? I don't think there was one of those things that disturbed me or bothered me. I didn't give my energy to it at all. Many of them, I laughed so hard, I couldn't hardly stand it. Dave can tell you, the night I jammed my toe into the couch and spilled the crackers into the floor, I mean I was on my way to bed and these crackers just went everywhere, I mean, under the water bottles and every place. And so I'm down there on my hands and knees trying to pick these things up and I am laughing my head off. And he came out and said, "What is so funny"? I said, "I spilled these crackers all over the floor and now I gotta pick them up". He said, "I enjoy more than anything the change in your attitude over the past several years".
Can I tell you something? No matter how mad I got, the crackers wouldn't have gotten off the floor and got back up in the box. And so you might as well learn to go with the flow and just be happy where you're at 'cause complaining about it is not gonna change it. Come on. I'm telling you what, I believe that what I'm talking about here today, simple as it is, nothing profound, nothing new, I believe that if we will enter this year with a new attitude and really ask God to help us not complain, but to be more thankful, I can honestly say that I believe that some of you are gonna get those breakthroughs that you've been looking through. I think some of the things that we've been thinking are the problem are not the real problem. We're the problem. Is it your problem that's your problem or is it is your attitude toward your problem that's the problem? One more time, is your problem your problem or is it your attitude toward your problem that is your problem? I think maybe these people over here need it too. Is your problem your problem or is it your attitude toward your problem that is your problem?
You know what? Every single person in this room today, every single solitary one of us, we have a lot more to be thankful for than we do to complain about. Every one of us, every single one of us have a lot more to be thankful for than we do to complain about. And when we praise God and we're thankful, it opens the door for the Holy Spirit to work really amazing things in our life. But when we complain, it opens a door for the devil. Okay, I'll prove it to you. Numbers 21:4-7. God, I pray that every time that anybody in here complains, you're gonna make them aware of it and that they're gonna change that complaint into a praise. The Israelites took 40 years to make an 11-day trip. Amazingly dumb... 40 years to make an 11-day journey.
That's one of the most amazing things in the Bible to me, and yet we do the same thing. Is it always the devil that's keeping us from getting what we want or is the way we're responding to circumstances and situations in our life? I think the devil has a very hard time controlling a really content happy believer. So they wandered around out there for all these years and they thought it was their enemies and long story short, many years ago, God gave me a message that I called "Wilderness mentalities" and he showed me that it wasn't their enemies. It wasn't the Gergasites and the Hivites and the Jebusites and all those -ites. We've all got our own brand of -ites. It could be the grouchy neighbor-ites, the backache-ites, the bad-boss-ites, but we've all got 'em. That wasn't what it was. It was their attitude, and I did this long series of teachings about 10 or 12 different attitudes they had that I believe kept them from making progress and one of them was complaining.
Numbers 21, verse 4, "And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom, and the people became impatient (depressed, and much discouraged), because of the trials of the way". Because of the 37 things they had on their list or however many things it was. "And the people spoke against God and against Moses, why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water, and we hate this light (contemptible, unsubstantial) manna". The very thing that was so amazingly miraculous to them a short time before, now they despised it.
Don't complain about cleaning that big house you begged God to give you. Whoo! I feel the Holy Ghost. Amen? Don't murmur about washing that car that God has so graciously given you. If you don't want to wash it, you could walk or ride the bus, like a lot of people who don't have one. Amen? Don't complain about the kids you begged God to give you. Don't complain about the person you're married to. You prayed 15 years to get married and now you've got it, be happy with it.
Verse 5, "So they spoke against God and against Moses, why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There's no bread, there's no water, we hate this manna". Verse 6, "And the Lord sent fiery (burning) serpents among the people: and they bit the people, and many of the Israelites died. And the people came to Moses, and said, we have sinned". Well duh? I mean, why do we have to get in that kind of a mess before we realize that our attitude is getting us in trouble? I said, why do we have to get in that kind of a mess before we realize that our attitude is getting us in trouble? Oh, my gosh, we could slam the door right in the devil's face if we'll just stay happy and being happy is better.
"Well sister, if you had my problems you wouldn't be happy either". You don't know what's going on in my life. You didn't know about those years when I preached to you and I felt like my head was splitting in half while I was doing it. You don't know about a lot of things that are going on in other people's lives, and we don't know about everything that's going on in your life. But God knows and he's the only one that can do anything about it, and he will, if we pray with thanksgiving, but he can't if all we do is complain.
"And the people came to Moses, we have sinned". Now what did they say their sin was? "We spoke against the Lord and against you: pray to the Lord, that he may take away the serpents from us. So Moses prayed for the people". And then they lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole and they said whoever looks to the serpent on the pole will be healed and, of course, we know that as a representation of Christ being lifted up on the cross bearing our sins and so thankfully, thankfully, thankfully when we get in trouble, we can look to Christ and he'll be merciful and gracious to us and forgive us and turn things around for us.
But it's not a matter that we can't be forgiven. It's like why waste the time, the effort and the energy? You know, the fact that we can be forgiven is great, but there's something even better and that's like let's get smart enough not to get in trouble to start with. I don't want to just live my life doing the wrong thing and begging God to get me out of it, doing the wrong thing, begging God to get me out of it sinning, getting forgiven, sinning, getting forgiven. Getting under condemnation, crawling out from under it. I want to move beyond that and get to the point where I'm led by the Holy Spirit, and I will listen to God before I get in trouble.
Can I tell ya a secret? I believe that every time we get ourselves in trouble, God has tried to tell us several times beforehand not to do the thing we did that got us in trouble. But we're like little kids. We gotta try and just see. "Johnny, don't touch that stove, it's hot, hot.".. "Ah". "I told you. Told you not to touch it". You do understand how important this is, right? That this is not just a little hoopla message. I think this is something that we should begin to pray about. Study on your own. You know, you won't get what you need just hearing me preach this message today. I mean honestly you won't because this is not something we get over easy. It's too in our nature to murmur and grumble and complain about stuff, and I really believe that God wants us to be like bright lights shining out in a dark world and giving him praise while everybody else is complaining their heads off.
And I'm gonna show you a scripture that says just exactly that in a minute. 1 Corinthians 10:9... "We should not tempt the Lord and try his patience, and become a trial to him, critically appraising him, and exploiting his goodness as some of them did — and were put entirely out of the way and killed by poisonous serpents: nor discontentedly complain as some of them did — and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer. Now these things befell them by way of a figure and an example and warning to us: they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction".
So what's he saying? "I'm writing, I'm putting in here", Paul said, "I'm putting in here what happened to the Israelites back in numbers, so we can be instructed and learn not to do what they did". We don't have to. You can slam the door in the devil's face when you have problems by finding something to praise God about. And the Bible says, "In all things, give thanks. In the middle of every circumstance, give thanks. No matter what's happening to you, give thanks". We can always find something to be thankful for in every situation. No matter how many things that you think are wrong with the person that you're married to, if you would just take time to start making a list of all the things that you do like, pretty soon you wouldn't even be bothered with the stuff that you don't like. And this is something that we have to do on purpose. It's not something we can wait to feel like doing. We have to do it on purpose.
Paul said, "I've learned how to be content, satisfied to the point where I'm not disturbed, whether I'm abased or abounding". I love that. He didn't say that he liked his situation. He said, "I'm satisfied to the point where I'm not disturbed. That didn't mean he didn't want any change, but he said, "I'm satisfied to the point" you know what? With the life that God has given me, if I had to put up with 37 things like are on this list every 8 weeks in my life, I could still be happy because I have got such a great life. How could I let these things steal my joy and then be totally unaware of all the good things that God's doing?
You see what happens? When we focus on what God's not doing, then we don't even pay any attention to what is he doing. And I know that many of you know this and many of you are already practicing this. I know that you get a lot of encouragement here and this is a very thankful church and thankful congregation, but this is something that we need to be reminded of over and over and over. It's not a enough just to do it in church. We need to do it when we're out in public.
Let's go to Philippians chapter 2. Last night I shared a message about the last days and the way that we should be living in the midst of the times that we're in. And the main point I wanted to get across was we cannot blend in. We have to stand out. There's a great danger today in just blending into what's going on and where the world really can't see any difference in us and them. It's like, I don't want to have to look for the believers. I want them to stand out. I want it to be a situation where I'm not around somebody very long that's a believer and I know that they're a believer. I thank God and our relationship with God, not like we're trying to cram it down people's throat, but it just needs to be part of our everyday life. It just needs to be something that's there. Don't ever be ashamed of the name of Christ. Don't ever be ashamed that you're a believer. Don't feel that you have to hide that.
Philippians 2, verse 14 and 15, this is so good. "Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining". All things, drive in traffic, do the dishes, wait in line, do the laundry, cut the grass. And can I tell ya something? I believe with all my heart that it's in these little things that our character is tested. It's not about whether or not you're willing to go to Africa if God calls you. It's can you cut the grass without complaining? Can you get in and out of the grocery store without complaining about high prices? "Well, they are high". Well, complaining about it's not gonna make them lower. You know what I'd say if I were you in there? God, I thank you that you've given me the money to get what I need to eat. And you know what I say? I refuse to be afraid about what's going on in the world today.
"Well, you know, they say that gas is gonna get to be such and such and such and such". Well, you know what I say? Whatever it is, God's gonna give me the money to get however much of it I need to get wherever I need to go. And I know that there are people that are going through difficult times. I know that and maybe you feel like, "Well, I've tried all this happy, clappy, sappy stuff and, you know, I've still got a lot of problems. Well, God is not something you try. These are life-changing principles that you get them in your heart and you say, "Devil, I am gonna outlast you. I am gonna win. I am gonna persevere. God is on my side, and I am gonna see breakthrough and good things happen in my life. And you are not gonna use my mouth to go around murmuring and complaining and grumbling all the time because God is good to me". And, you know, if nothing else, at least you can go look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I am not going to hell. My sins are forgiven and I am not going to hell. I am gonna live forever. In the presence of God," amen?
All right, now watch 'cause this is very important for the times we're living in. "Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining against God and questioning and doubting among yourselves, that you may..." Why? "That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and a wicked generation spiritually perverted and perverse, among whom you are seen as bright lights..." we talked last night about turning the light up. We talked about how we're the light of the world and the world is full of darkness. And if we will just begin to shine, if we pretend like we're a three-way light, let's turn it up a notch. Let's turn it up a couple of notches.
And here this simple little scripture says, hey, you can really turn your light up bright if you'll just stop complaining. Do you know how unusual that is in the world today to find somebody who's not complaining about everything? You know how challenging it is to get stuck in a 2-hour traffic jam and be able to sit there and not complain? Do I hit it 100% of the time? Absolutely not. But I'm taking what I felt like God said to me very, very seriously. I want my prayer power to increase. I want it to multiply. I want to pray and see answers quicker than ever before, and I want to pray for other people and see answers in their life quicker than ever before.
If you're gonna complain about something, don't bother to pray about it. That's what God said to me. Let's be bright, bright lights shining out in a dark world. What do you have to be thankful for? So many things. What can we be thankful for right this moment? Well, let's see, I'm thankful that I preached last night, this morning and again right now and pretty soon I'm gonna be done, and I can go home. Now that doesn't mean that I'm not grateful to be here and I don't love doing it, but you know we're all thrilled when we've accomplished something and it's finished. There's always something to be grateful for if you just look for it. I don't care if you got five body parts that's hurting, thank God for the ones that aren't. Amen?
I pray for you all in the name of Jesus, that God would take this message and just re-preach it to you over and over and over and over in the upcoming weeks, not unto condemnation, but unto victory. Help us, God, to not have a complaint without a vision. Help us to not complain about something we're not willing to do anything about. Help us, God, to be bright lights shining out clearly in a dark world. I think this is a way that we can serve you, God. I think this is a special little way that we can serve you just to get out in the world and always find something to be joyful about. Father, I pray that you'd forgive us for complaining, that all those doors that we've opened, you would shut today by your mercy and grace and give us a fresh start to be grateful and thankful for all that you've done in our lives.