The Royal family in England has a motto: never explain, never complain. It doesn’t mean they never get upset. However, to the public, they don’t encourage gossip. It’s a motto that has largely served them well. Even lately with Prince Harry sharing some of their secrets, they have stood firm as a solid rock for their country. They have not come out to the public about how they feel about Harry. They’ve handled the matter privately.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14-16).
Working as a camp counselor, one summer I had this Scripture hanging at the foot of my bed. I reviewed it daily and preached it to myself. I tried to make it become my attitude. The translation I had at that time said to do everything without “complaining or arguing,” (Philippians 2:14). Despite the intensity of the camp counselor job, I strived to not complain, to do my work with a good attitude, and glorify God in all I did.
Today, I preach that verse to my kids as a mom. Not complaining doesn’t mean we have to like our circumstances. But we try to find things we like about it. We try to find the good in all circumstances. We trust GOD with our circumstances. We trust GOD with our desires, as opposed to looking elsewhere for fulfillment. I can handle someone telling me “no,” because my ultimate trust and fulfillment is in the Lord, not in their response to me and my desires. I can trust the Lord without complaining because I know that every decision is ultimately from the Lord, who has my best interests in mind (Proverbs 16:33, Jeremiah 29:11). I tell my children (and myself), when someone tells them “no,” they’re to say, “it’s OK. My trust is in the Lord.”
Is that not the ultimate source of our complaints? It’s that we don’t trust God’s goodness to us in our situation. We don’t have everything we want. Life’s not perfect, so we complain. We don’t get what we want, so we complain. Does it do any good? Do we ask God (James 4:2-3)?
The world is full of complainers. Often times, you’re not cool if you don’t complain. Philippians 2 explains even deeper why the Lord has called HIS children to live differently than the rest of the world. We’re not to argue, not to complain, not to grumble under our breaths. We are to be what the verse says, “pure,” by steering clear of these things. By doing that one thing, we stand out from the rest of the world. God desires HIS children to be pure, blameless, unable for someone to bring an accusation against. It’s a tall order. “Never complain.” Can you do it?
Remember, it doesn’t mean we’re dishonest about what we dislike, but we don’t dwell on it or grumble about it. Instead we get busy doing what the Lord has called us to, placing our ultimate trust in Him. BECAUSE we trust HIM with our circumstances, we have no reason TO complain. We can give our “complaints” or desires to HIM, and move on, trusting that He has good in store for us, WHATEVER the circumstances. Today, tell the Lord about your unmet desires. If it’s a deep struggle, pray with a friend about it. Trust HIM to care for those in His way. Then move on in confidence trusting Him to use your good attitude where you are to shine His light to the world. He will do it. Amen!