Summary: God’s grace is the only cure for spriritual discontent and discouragement
GOD’S GRACE – THE ULTIMATE CURE!
Every so often we hear about a new miracle drug that’s proven to cure a specific ailment or disease. In fact, we have no shortage of such wonder drugs. We have medicines that claim to cure everything from male-pattern baldness to chronic heart disease. Of course, some medicine is more effective than another. That’s something we come to expect in this age of new scientific research – not every medicine will cure what it promises.
Our Lord realizes we have far greater needs than how to lose those “love handles” or how to grow a fuller head of hair. We need a cure for spiritual decay. We need a cure from apathy towards God’s promises, especially as we struggle through this life awaiting our Savior’s return. And so for that reason, God offers a fail-proof antidote to indifference and frustration. He offers us HIS GRACE – THE ULTIMATE CURE. God’s grace 1) Combats Grumbling, and it cures what ails us by 2) Transforming Heartache to Hope.
1) Grace Combats Grumbling
One of a doctor’s most challenging tasks must be the proper diagnosis of an illness or medical condition. There are so many diseases with similar symptoms, the trick has to be identifying and treating each one correctly. There’s one condition whose symptoms are clear. It affects each person the same. This illness is found in every home. And we’ve all known people – ourselves included – who have suffered because of it. This particular ailment pesters us when we least expect it, and if left untreated, it can make life completely miserable.
Now, I’m not talking about any normal sort of sickness. I’m talking about one that infects our hearts and lives. And once you have it, there’s no denying it. The symptoms are obvious. Grouchiness. Complaining. Irritability. Bad temper. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the affliction known as Grumble-itis. Grumbe-litis is actually a hereditary condition that’s inborn in all sinful flesh.
Grumble-itis affects us in a strange way. It affects our perception. We soon see odd things; we’re led to focus on all troubles that abound. One of the symptoms of Grumble-itis is that we’re led to think everyone else is the cause of our problems; everyone else is the reason we’re inconvenienced. This condition changes our perception of one another. Fellow believers are seen as a pain – people who can’t be trusted; people who are to be despised; people who often are the brunt of our anger, or who are to be ignored or avoided, even if seen in the local Wal-mart.
The next symptom is isolation. As we are led to despise one another, then we won’t want to serve one another in Christian love. In fact, Christian service becomes an inconvenience. We become very selfish with our time and talents, unwilling to serve or help, even in the smallest way.
If you’ve ever felt this way, the Grumble Bug has bitten you, and you’re not alone. In fact, the apostle Paul dealt with this pest on many occasions. There were times when Paul was tempted to despise his fellow Christians, especially the Thessalonians. These people were often confused in their faith. There were some who were genuine troublemakers and they were unsettling the whole congregation. These troublemakers were undermining the apostles’ ministry, making it difficult for them to share the gospel. Paul must have been an easy target for Grumble-it is. It would have been easy for him to lose his temper and lash out. God’s cure made the difference, however. The Lord’s abundant grace constantly reminded Paul of his great love and mercy show towards him and all people, even the Thessalonians. God’s grace is the ultimate cure for the Grumble bug. Grace combats grumbling. It transforms thanklessness into thankfulness.
Paul does not describe these troubled Christians as horrible people. He doesn’t despise them. Instead he thanks God for them. He says: “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” God’s grace is the ultimate cure to grumbling because grace leads us to be thankful for things we don’t deserve. Paul was thankful for those Christians in Thessalonica because the Lord loved them, even as he was loved. No one deserves God’s love, and yet, he chose to shower it on us because he is good and gracious. Paul didn’t deserve God’s love, the Thessalonians didn’t, you and I don’t, yet, how wonderful to know that we have been showered with God’s grace in Christ Jesus! That’s what compelled the apostle Paul to be thankful for his fellow believers. That was something he just had to do!