Jul 26 8:11 AM
Joy Killer #1: Complaining
Jul 26 8:11 AM
Jul 26 8:11 AM
Monday, July 26, 2021
So many times we talk about what it takes to find joy. Last week, I talked about places to find joy from Philippians chapter one. During this week's Life Lifters we will look at the most common joy killers and how to overcome them. How many have ever had joy, maybe you found joy in Christ and what he's doing in your life, and somebody or something came along, and killed your joy. It was a joy killer. I want to talk to you about three of the biggest joy killers. Here's the first: complaining. Nothing kills joy faster than complaining. I know sometimes you have to vent stuff, and I'm the kind of guy that has a short account with stuff. So I just get it out. I complain, and it's better to complain a little than a lot, but better not to complain at all. So complaining is tough. And I find the longer I complain, the more I start to sap away my joy.
I get this because Paul gives us that admonition in Philippians 2:14-15. Philippians is Paul's letter of joy. He wrote it from prison, the last place you'd expect somebody to have joy, but joy is not happiness. You can be unhappy in prison and still filled with joy like Paul was. So while he's in prison, still filled with joy, he says this to the Philippians, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault and a crooked and depraved generation,' in which you shine like stars in the universe."
First, he says "Do everything without complaining or arguing." What's arguing? It can be a form of complaining sometimes. "I want this, I want that. I want this. I want that." James says it's competing battle of wills. Paul goes on and says if you do everything without complaining and arguing, then what happens is you shine like stars, you're filled with joy. If you don't, then you are like the crooked and depraved generation around us. How many know the crooked and depraved generation around us, which describes our generation, they're always complaining. They say, "I'm offended. I'm offended that you said that. I'm offended that you did that. I'm offended." Sometimes I just want to say "I'm offended that you're offended." Or people say, "My rights have been trampled." And unfortunately there's a lot of truth to that, but but sometimes their rights are actually their selfish needs. People are always complaining about something. And I'm telling you, I have never seen somebody that complains a lot filled with joy. Have you?
The problem is sometimes we look in the mirror and we find somebody who's doing a lot of complaining. Stop complaining. Accept it. Voice your concern, say something's wrong, challenge it, wish it were better, but don't camp out in complaining land. It'll rob your joy. Do less complaining and more contemplating. What does God want to do in your situation? Then, you will not be like the crooked and depraved generation around us, but you'll be, as Paul says, like shining stars. I think of that song by Earth Wind and Fire, "Got to be a shining star." Paul says, be a shining star. What does that mean? When you're a shining star you're filled with joy. So you get the choice: complain or joy? It's like two rabbits. You can't chase two rabbits at once. Get rid of complaining and chase down joy. Father, forgive us for being complainers. I am one who at times struggles with complaining. Help me to choose joy over complaining. Help people listening to choose joy over complaining, and we'll find more joy as a result. We ask you this in Jesus' name. Amen.