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00Over the last year, I have been inundated with numerous calls per day from unknown numbers, local number, toll-free numbers and even numbers I know only to find a telemarketer on the other end trying to either sell me something or trick me into thinking I had to hear their pitch. The list of ‘blocked’ numbers has grown to over 150 and quite honestly, I have become quite frustrated with the constant intrusion. Due to the fact that I receive a ton of calls every day that are legitimate when you add the garbage calls, it makes a phone a hated tool and sometimes it causes me to miss good conversations. For 2018, it has been a different story.
I have started answering every call that comes to my phone when appropriate without fail. And in an effort to do all things without complaining and have joy while doing everything for the glory of God, I have found that answering every call as an opportunity to share the gospel is the best way to handle what otherwise is a means to frustration and sin.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing,  that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,  holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)
This text is one of our favorites at home. I think this is so because it is so delightfully easy to apply when someone in the house decides to rant about anything in particular with debate or aggravation. The funny thing with this text is that most of the time when we apply it to others we do so in the spirit of not applying to ourselves. What I mean is that it is often so easy to say, “hey, ALL THINGS without complaining” while we stand there complaining about the complaining. In this line of thinking I have come to conclude several areas of hypocritical application of this verse in my own life. Maybe some of you can agree. (About yourselves…. :))
- Complaining about people’s attitudes.
- Being frustrated about traffic.
- Finding fault with others. (Inside my head.)
- Realizing annoyance that others don’t consider me in regards to their “noise.”
- Dirty clothes on the floor.
- Mud on the carpet.
- Dusty bibles.
- Smelly anythings.
- Those darn false teachers.
- Those darn false teachings.
- Those darn falsely taught. (Don’t be a grammar police.)
- Bible Questions
- Bible Answers
- Bible Idiots
- All things electronic.
- All things non-electronic.
- Politicians and leaders.
- Lack of peace at times.
- Lack of humility.
- Mumbling or shouting.
- The length of things.
- The brevity of others.
- Silly thinking.
- Weak Faith.
- What ever else gets in the way of me.
OK, I hope you get the point. Some of the ideas popping in my head are not going to be expounded upon but the brief list will get each of us thinking I pray, about our long list of never-ending complaints, grumbles, disputes etc. In reality the peace of Christ should rule our hearts to such a degree that when things that should upset, even rightly, are not stumbling blocks for us or others. One of the greatest measures of the faithful is the joy of the Lord and I believe this comes equally with humility. So, to be certain of God’s work in us, let’s pause a minute and ask ourselves the last time we had a complaint, even in our own minds and then see if it fits into the category of “ALL THINGS.”
Why does it matter? Because the rule of Christ in our lives pulls us out of fleshly understanding and allows us to see with clarity the hand of God in ALL THINGS, especially the EGR issues and people. (EGR = Extra Grace Required.) This text says that IF WE complain and grumble and dispute that we bring BLAME and GUILT to our lives before others. We FIT IN to a crooked and twisted generation rather than stand out in holiness in comparison. We cover the light of Christ in our community rather than shine in the darkness. We let GO OF Christ in those moments because we feel that our take and “talk” on such matters is more vital than God’s purpose. Paul argues here that he is being “poured out” as a drink offering for the sake of the Christians in Philippi and that their peaceful, hopeful, humble, content resolve will prove that he did not pour himself out for nothing. In the same way beloved, let us rise with all the power of the Gospel as we hold fast to the One who bought us with His blood.
The church should be a light of hope, not a light of annoyance as she complains about everything.
For His Glory by His Grace,
Pastor James Tippins