Thursday, January 27, 2011

A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE


 If you listen, you can hear the outcry of the effects of a disease that is easily spreading around.  No matter where you travel this disease can find you whether at home, work, or heaven forbid even the church.  It can affect anyone, no one is exempt from experiencing its contagious virus but there is a vaccine.  It doesn't matter if you wash your hands with ant-bacteria soap or scrub your cuticles for 20 seconds, this disease can catch you.  This disease doesn't come from touching others, sneezing on others, or coughing without your mouth covered; it doesn't come from human touch to spread.  It can spread without daily human contact but it's easily detected.  Also, it’s easily preventable.  Have you guessed what I am talking about?  I bet you don't have any idea of what I am talking about.  Well, a deadly contagious disease of complaining has been spreading since the beginning of time.  Sadly, it seems no one wants to admit their capture of its deadly poison but we like to spread it around.  We all love to share about our issues with friends, co-workers, or family.      
      Understandable, we need to share our cares with God and our family at times, it's important to be honest about the issues within our hearts.  Nevertheless, it seems we talk more about the issue instead of dealing with it.  How many of us have complained about our spouse to close friends, our bosses to co-workers, or gossiped about someone at church?  It seems we can talk easily to those involved in the situation instead of confronting the party who offended us or God himself.  We would rather spread wild fire to burn a brother’s reputation instead of making amends with them.  Why?  We have to humble ourselves to confront them.  Most conflicts in the family, the church, and at work would be resolved if the wounded person would confront the other party.  It seems it's easier to complain about the issue instead of dealing with it.  I guess it's no wonder why people are burden with a load of care in their lives.  The burdens are weighing heavy on their hearts, so it causes our mouths to complain. Doesn't scripture say, "From the abundance of the mouth the heart speaks?"  If you truly want to find out what a person believes or doesn't believe about something, closely listen to their words.  Sometimes it's almost funny; they will hang themselves with their own words.
     We all can find something to complain about if we want to.  Honestly, it doesn't take long for some of us to find something negative to share whether it's the weather, sports, politics, family, or work.  We all can find something to complain about in our lives, but what's the point of spread this contagious disease?  Does it really uplift anyone's heart or does it cause it to weight it down more?  What does scripture have to say about this contagious disease?
  "Do ALL THINGS without murmuring and disputing’s: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain."
Philippians 2:14-16   
      Let's be completely honest, who isn't convicted about this issue after reading this passage? Obviously, everyone has expressed a spirit of complaining at one time or another.  Also, we need to learn how to prevent this attitude from spreading to someone else's life.  The root of complaining stems from a covetous heart, a doubtful heart, and unstable heart with God and His Word.  If you truly want to find out the effects of this don't look any further then the children of Israel.  Besides wandering in the desert for forty years, the children of Israel became ungrateful for their deliverance from bondage, disobedient to authority (Moses, Aaron, and God), and rejecting the hand of God's provision.  Later on, the children of Israel cried out for quail for they were unsatisfied with God's daily manna.  Do you know what happened?  God struck the children of Israel with a serve plague for their complaining heart.  He didn't delay but stuck as they placed the quail in their mouth.  (Exodus 16:1-36) So, it's easy to see complaining is a serious offense to God.  Also, this diseased caused the children of Israel to be in the desert for forty years before getting to the Promised Land.  The interesting fact about this journey, it should have only taken seven days to get there.  I don't know about you but I truly don't want to have to go forty years to get God's promises fulfilled in my life.
     So, how do we prevent this contagious disease from spreading deep to others?  First, we must be content with what we have.  The downfall of Eve wasn't her biting the fruit or sharing it with Adam but desiring something other than God's provision.  The Garden of Eden was beautiful beyond description, all of her physical needs were provided without working, she had someone who loved her, and she daily communicated with God.  However, the Devil convinced her of a hellish lie, God was withholding something from her.  Instead of looking at her environment as evidence, she craves something she shouldn't have.  It's interesting how we make Eve to look so weak for her sin but we all have done it.  We have bought things we shouldn't have on a credit card because we "have to have it."  We believe our neighbor's wealth is better than our own.  So, we try to compete with them and place a noose around our neck.  We don't rely on God's Word. 
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me."  
-Philippians 4:12-13 

      Many people cherish the promise of the verse but neglect to understand the circumstances of it.  Paul's life wasn't any easy lifestyle to obtain, sometimes his needs got neglected.  Paul was shipwrecked, beaten nearly to death on several occasions, and placed in prison for his faith.  
     Another way to prevent complaining is to quit doubting God and His Word.  God has willing shared His word so we can know Him.  His complete character has been revealed through His written word, so we can see what type of character He has.  If you don't remember what it says about Him, let me remind you.  He is loving, holy, peaceful, creator, peacemaker, Lion of Judah, Prince of Peace, merciful, just, and forgiving to name a few.  
   And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) He longs to provide for our needs, He is the good Shepherd. He is forgiving and willing for no one to perish.  He is holy and just.  No matter where you read in scripture, His character will be revealed.  He wants you to be content in His love.  He longs to be with you.  We have to quit doubting His Word and who He is.  If we doubt the promises of God, we will receive nothing.  We will be unstable in all our ways; we won't be able to hold the anchor of our souls. 
      Next, we need to have a thankful heart to resist the complaining spirit to arise.  Thankfulness will cause our hearts to be satisfied with our daily bread.  If we can thank God for what we have, won't be focused on what we don't have.  As Madam Blueberry said, in Veggie Tales, "An ungrateful heart is an unhappy heart."  So many people lives are filled with unhappiness because of their unwillingness to be thankful for God's provision.  God will never fail you nor forsake you
    Finally, the best way to stop complaining is simply just shut up!   As my mother used to say, "If you can't say nothing nice, don't say nothing at all."  Our words have the ability to bring life or death into someone's life.  If anyone knows this, it's me.  If you haven't ready my testimony, I encourage you to do so.  Words are very powerful tools but they must be used properly.  As stated before, we all have heard someone complain about something to us.  We need to advise, "Why don't we pray about this?"  Or just walk away from the situation.  It's not worth getting your soul contaminated with the disease.  As believers, if we hold our tongue, we are wise, blameless, and harmless.  It's very important to understand our lives will affect someone but for the Christian it can be an eternal effect.  We are the sons and daughters of God who shine the light amidst the darkness for we hold within us the Word of Life.