Here is some shocking and disillusioning news: there is no perfect church or Christian organization on earth.
Evidently, there were some undercurrents of “grumbling or arguing” in the church over unmentioned issues.
Paul’s words remind us of Moses’s description of the Israelites, who were a “stubborn, unfaithful people” (Deut 32:20) because they incessantly complained about their hardships and wished they had never left Egypt (Num 11:1–-6; 14:1–-4; 20:2; 21:4–-5). Paul warned that such complainers had been dealt with severely (1 Cor 10:10).
The command not to “grumble” means not to “murmur, complain, [or] express dissatisfaction or annoyance.” This includes talking secretly, gossiping, or whispering about someone, which produces discontent, disillusionment, or suspicion among the body of believers.
Paul described the suffering the Philippians were going through for sharing “the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27). Paul taught them the honor to be “granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (1:28–-30). Perhaps there were complaints to God for allowing their suffering or seeming to be powerless to deliver them or Paul from imprisonment.
The second divisive action among them was “arguing,” which means to “dispute, or have different opinions.” Paul exhorted Euodia and Syntyche to “be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil 4:2), Such disagreeable attitudes provoked Paul to write, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit” (2:3), both of which generate arguments.
All such divisive attitudes must be conquered in order to accomplish the mission of the community of believers to “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:15).
All such griping, complaining, and disputing go viral all too fast. These issues discredit its possible impact on lost sinners. We must do everything to keep the “light of the world” shining bright.
“Teach me, Lord, to see how my tendency to gripe and complain about my situation is seen by You as my distrust of and dislike for what You have allowed and provided for my maturity. Forgive me for not accepting Your plan for my life.”
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