Summary: This sermon looks at six steps to overcome complaining. 1. Admit There Is A PROBLEM 2. Change your SELF-TALK 3. Speak POSITIVELY 4. Take Responsibility For Your Own LIFE 5. Develop An Attitude Of GRATITUDE 6. Look For God In Every SITUATION
Joy in the Journey - Being Positive In A Negative World
Complaining kills joy. It makes you unhappy. It makes everyone around you unhappy too. How many of you like to be around complainers?
The problem is – that once we start to complain – it is hard to stop. Complaining can become a habit – and to tell you the truth – it is a bad habit. We can find something to complain about all the time. If it is raining – of course we can complain about that. But we could also rejoice that the ground is being refreshed and watered. If it is sunny we could complain about that saying, “Oh no – I will probably get sun-burned.”
We are somewhat conditioned by our society to complain. Look at the headlines in your newspapers and on television. I would say that most of what you see is bad news. We are bombarded continuously with what’s wrong with everything. By our own nature and by our conditioning we tend to develop the habit of complaining. But that is not how the Bible tells us to respond in a negative world. Look at Philippians chapter two with me:
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Philippians 2:14-16 (NKJV)
The Bible tells us that Christians are to be different than the rest of the world. I like the way the Message Bible states these verses:
“Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.” Philippians 2:14-16 (MSG)
HOW TO CONQUER COMPLAINING
The Bible says "Do everything without complaining and arguing." How do you do that?
1. Admit There Is A PROBLEM
If you are a constant complainer – you have a problem. For one thing it is not how God wants you to approach the world. He wants you to - “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”
Proverbs chapter twenty-eight says:
“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)
One of the most difficult parts of correcting a problem – is to admit that you have one. Take some time this week and listen to yourself. Ask yourself: How much time do I spend griping, complaining, arguing and saying – life is rotten. If you spend a major amount of your time verbalizing the negative – you have a problem. Admit it.
In the verse we just read from Proverbs twenty-eight it gives us two steps on the way to correct the problem. Go ahead and circle the words “confess” and “turn”. We need to confess when we are doing wrong and we also need to stop doing it. I know this is easier said than done – but the first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have one.
2. Change your SELF-TALK
I think that people talk to themselves most of the time. I know that I do. I don’t mean this in a negative way – but when I am trying to think things through – I use language. How else can I think? I do not think without the use of language. That is self-talk. What you are thinking in your mind – what you are saying to your self – what you are meditating on – that is your self-talk. Be very careful of your self-talk. We can easily slip into negative self-talk.
I remember going to work on day and on the way I started thinking – no-body likes me – everybody hates me – life is the pits. I was having a pity party. I was centering in on the negative. All of a sudden I realized what I was doing. Do you know what I did? I stopped having a pity party (changed my way of thinking) and started thinking of the grace and goodness of God. God loves me. God forgives me. He thinks I am special. He thinks I am so special that He sent His Son to die on the cross for me. Just because God made the first man out of mud does not mean that all that I am worth is dirt – No! I am worth the sacrifice of God’s own Son. That is what God tells me I am worth and so are you. Yes I am a sinner – but God knows that and says I am still worth dying for. In fact He has – so stop thinking that you are worthless – God doesn’t. Change your way of thinking. Change your self-talk. Paul tells us in the book of Philippians: