Philippians 2:14-15 (KJV) “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 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;” (Emphasis Added).
Last week we talked about not desiring to be known as a “Grumbler.” Today’s Scripture admonishes us to “do all things without murmurings and disputings.” Nonetheless, grumbling has become an accepted part of everyday life. It seems that if a person comes across as “too cheerful,” he becomes the brunt of jokes and ridicule. I’ve heard people say, “No one can be that happy all the time! His cheerfulness makes me sick!”
I know what the difference between grumbling and gratitude is. But what promotes the difference between one who has an “Attitude of Gratitude,” and the one who has a “Habit of Grumbling?”
The difference between one who has an attitude of gratitude from one who has a habit of grumbling depends on their …
Someone said, “Perception is everything!” I don’t know if it is “everything,” but it certainly influences how individuals process all the data that passes through their senses. Perception and perspective are much the same thing.
Someone also said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are correct!”
As we discussed last week, how we embrace each new day will have great influence on how we finish the day. For instance, if we awaken and embrace our new day with, “Good Lord! It’s morning,” the day will most likely be more difficult to navigate. However, if we say, “Good Morning, Lord,” we are embracing the day with God. Navigating the day with God is done more easily than without God! When one chooses to grumble, his choice dismisses the Presence of God. When one chooses to be grateful, his choice desires the Presence of God.
Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 (KJV) “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.” (Emphasis Added).
In 44 years of active pastoral ministry and mentoring, I have not encountered anyone who was known for being a grumbler who was also known for walking consistently, courageously, and as a conqueror with Christ. In fact, it seemed more “bad” things happened than “good.”
Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 (TLB) “A wise man’s heart leads him to do right, and a fool’s heart leads him to do evil. You can identify a fool just by the way he walks down the street!” (Emphasis Added).
Our perspective is directed by our vision. A man who owns a mountainside cottage has the potential to experience beautiful sites. Of course, it depends upon his ability to “see” as to what degree the beauty will mean to him. If he is blind, the sights would not be as impactful as the sounds and scents of the scenery. If he were impatient, neither the sights, sounds, nor the scents would be meaningful.
I’ve heard this…
“You are so blessed to live in such a beautiful setting.”
Response, “You think so? After you’ve been there for a while, you don’t notice anymore. There’s a lot of work to do living up there!”
“Two men looked out from prison bars. One saw mud, one saw stars.” In the pursuit of the fullness of human life, everything depends on this frame of reference, this habitual outlook, this basic vision which I have of myself, others, life, the world, and God. What we see is what we get. — Fr. John Powell, Through Seasons of the Heart
Whether we are a grumbler or grateful will depend upon the perspective of our vision. If we continue to maintain a soulish, carnal vision relying upon the natural man (senses), we will only perceive everything in its fallen state. However, since we’ve been born-again, we can perceive everything with a spiritual perspective. The choice is ours.
God will not deny Himself! He maintains a spiritual vision, choosing NOT to “see” as man does.
1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV) “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (Emphasis Added).
God sees as man does not! When we continue to walk after the pattern of our fallen nature, and not after our transformed nature, we continue to see things as the enemy would desire – wasted, wanting, and wearisome! We need to allow the Holy Spirit to renew our perspective so we can see as God sees!
When God looks upon us, He does not only see our lost condition, our fallen nature; He sees what He placed within us, He sees what He has planned for us. After all, when He saw David, He did not just see a shepherd – He saw a “Warrior-King!”
An airline captain who flies overseas routes also runs a small filling station near his home. Between trips to Europe and the Middle East, he gets a kick out of changing plugs and points and talking to the folks while pumping gas.
One Saturday morning, dressed in his greasy overalls, he walked down to the local hardware store to pick up a wrench. “What’s new?” the store owner asked as he rang up the purchase. “Ah, I’m thinking of taking the Cairo run this month,” the captain said. “I enjoy flying to London and Frankfurt, but I think the change of pace will do me good.” He paid for the wrench and left.
Another customer, curious, asked, “Who’s the world traveler?” Rolling his eyes, the store owner nodded toward the departing pump jockey. “He’s some nut who runs the gas station down the street. He thinks he’s an airline pilot!” Both men got a good laugh out of that one.
It’s easy to be deceived. On the other hand, I was in the grocery store the other day and this ordinary-looking young man kept telling me about his Father, the King. You never know, do you? — Bernie May, Under His Wing
It is difficult to have a perspective that promotes praise when we continue to believe that God is not interested in our lives. He is our Father and He cares more for our lives than we do! He is working for our good.
Romans 8:28 (KJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Emphasis Added).
You can be thankful in all circumstances no matter how bleak the situation. Two teachers who had not seen each other in several years met at a convention and they began filling each other in on what had been happening in their lives since they had last visited together.
One teacher said, “I got married two years ago.” “Oh, that’s good the other replied.
“No not really.” she said, “because my husband is twice as old I am.” “Oh, that’s bad.” her friend replied.
“Well, no, not really,” the first one said, “because he is a millionaire several times over.” “Oh, that’s good,” her friend said.
“Well, no, not really,” she said, because he turned out to be mean and he won’t give me any money at all.” “Oh that’s bad,” her friend said.
“Well no, not really,” she said, “He did build a $900,000 dollar house.” “Oh, that’s good,” her friend replied.
“Well, no, not really,” she said. “It burned down last month.” “Oh, that’s bad,” her friend replied.
“Well, no not really,” she said. “He was in it when it burned down. Be ye thankful!!!
Oftentimes, our faulty perspective will cheat us the wonderful experience of enjoying the spiritual. I wonder, how often have I been so focused on what went wrong that I did not “see” where God intervened or interceded to prevent much worse? We must pray, “Lord, open my eyes that I may see You!”
When I was a boy growing up outside of New York City, I was an avid fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In fact, I have not yet quite forgiven them for moving west. The archenemy in my childhood was the New York Yankees. I had seen them only on television and heard them only on the radio until I was invited by my father to skip school and to go to the World Series game between the Yankees and the Dodgers. I’ll tell you, it was one of the great thrills of my childhood.
I remember sitting there, smelling the hot dogs and hearing the cheers of the crowd and the feel of it all. I knew those Dodgers were going to shellac those Yankees once and for all. Unfortunately, the Dodgers never got on base, so my thrill was shattered.
I tucked it away somewhere in my unconscious until, as an adult, I was in a conversation with one of these fellows who was a walking sports almanac. I mentioned to him when I went to my first major league game. I said, “It was such a disappointment. I was a Dodger fan and the Dodgers never got on base.”
He said, “You were there? You were at the game when Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in all of World Series history?”
I said, “Yeah, but, uh, we lost.” I was so caught up in my team’s defeat that I missed out on the fact that I was a witness to a far greater page of history. — Leith Anderson, Unlistened-to Lessons of Life