Philippians 2:14-16 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 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.
Do all things without grumbling or questioning. Other valid paraphrases would be: “do everything without complaining or disputes,” “whatever you do, do it without griping or strife,” or “in all your actions, do not criticize or be contentuous.”
How can anyone write about this verse without it feeling like condemnation? It is hardly possible because everyone is guilty of griping, complaining, criticizing, or causing strife. It is just a matter of degrees. Like most sin, some people are more prone to gripe and grumble either by natural disposition or perhaps they were raised in that environment.
The Apostle Paul does not allow for exceptions though. It does not matter how you feel, how you were raised, how right you think you are, the command is concrete and all inclusive: do all things without griping and complaining.
Because I Said So
At this point, I’d be tempted as a teacher to delve into “why?” people gripe, how to handle the feeling of wanting to criticize, or the effects of it all spiritually. But I am not going to. I want to simply let the command stand without explanation or softening the message: do ALL things WITHOUT complaints. It is what it is. In our modern culture of self-esteem and psychotherapy, we want to know “how come” (like little children, somebody call the “waaa-mbulance”!) and then, ironically, we complain about complaining. Like any good parent must say on occasion: “because I said so.” Do everything without griping and strife, because God said so.
That would be enough but God graciously tells us the why immediately: so that we may be innocent lights in a dark and crooked world. The world complains and whines. Griping and criticism are hallmarks of the sinful nature. To rid yourself of those would be to become a beacon of joy and contentment that shines the light on Jesus Christ (where it belongs).
Examine your life. Are you a griper? Do you complain a lot (or any)? Are you quick to criticize? For many who are really bad about it, they do not even realize how bad they have become unless they stop and take an honest hard look. How about you?
You can’t change what you won’t examine and admit. So quit your griping long to enough admit you are griping so you can stop your griping. Got it?