I’m working through Philippians with a friend from church at the moment (though predicted end date is somewhere near to December at this rate..!) but last week we got to the second half of chapter two.
The thing that really struck us both was this verse: “do all things without grumbling or questioning”. For me it was a real challenge as grumbling really is culturally acceptable in the UK. We grumble about the weather, we grumble about public transport, we even grumble about people grumbling! But as Christians we are clearly commanded not to do so. The context here is really key (as always!). Paul has just described exactly what Jesus was willing to lay aside for us – without any grumbling at all – and he’s moving on to talk about what that looks like in everyday life. And the shock I guess. is that he doesn’t say “Look what Jesus did for you – go on and do something good for him”. No, the application is for us to not grumble. Wow. It seems so little and yet as Emily and I started chatting about what not grumbling would mean in our lives it became clear that it would make a huge difference.
Not grumbling about a student being late for a meeting (suprisingly some stereotypes are true!), or grumbling that it’s raining once again really would chage our attitudes to life. But, Paul doesn’t just want us to have a nicer quality of life, he wants us not to grumble so that we will be blameless and pure children of God. Now, that in and of itself isn’t going to make us pure and blameless in God’s eyes, no that’s what Jesus does for us. But, the way in which we live is to reflect the goodness of the gospel.
So that’s my challenge . To not grumble but to rejoice in the goodness and truth of the gospel. Wha t that looks like totally I’m not too sure as I don’t think it means not saying anything negative but actually it’s the attitude behind it. I’ll be trying to work it out so feel free to be anti British and join me – and to point out where my grumbling is still in existence!