Do everything without compaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
I have been a parent now for almost five and a half years. I know there are so many more parents out there with much more expereience then myself, so please bear with me. In that five and a half years, the one thing I am most convinced of is that God gave me children so that I could grow. When I’m dealing with my oldest and she is questioning why I am asking her to pick up the toys that she is just going to play with tomorrow and she sees no reason why I should ask her to do work now, all I can hear in my head is myself asking God why He’s asking me to “give in” to be nice to someone I really don’t want to be nice to. See the irony of that? I do. And there are so many other examples that I could tell you about.
In the verses I’ve quoted above, it talks about doing everything without complaining or arguing. I remember memorizing this verse as a kid with Steve Green and his “Hide ‘Em In Your Heart” tapes that had verses set to music. Flashback for some of us, right? Anyway, as a kid I took these verses to mean that I had to bite my tongue and do what was asked of me no matter what. But as I’ve grown, I see that there is so much more than just doing what I’m told. Paul is encouragng us to live as shining examples in a generation that is lost and crooked. Doesn’t that describe the world today?
This week in my study of What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst, she talked about the story in Luke 5:1-11 when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John as disciples. These men were fisherman by trade and were coming to shore after a long night of fruitless fishing on the Lake of Gennesaret. On the shore, Jesus was speaking to a crowd that was pressing in on Him, so He climbed into Peter’s boat to continue teaching. He then asked Peter to push the boat out from shore a bit. Verse 4 of chapter 5 says “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon (Peter), “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Now remember, these men had just come in from fishing all night, but notice how Peter responds to Jesus. “Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ ” And guess what, their nets were filled so full with fish that it began to sink their boats.
Now you’re thinking, that’s fine for Peter, but what about my life where I think I’m doing what God wants only to be wallowing in more trouble and lack of fulfillment. I wonder what would happen, myself included, if our hearts were more like Peter’s and said, without hesitation and question, “Because you say so, Jesus”. We get so focused on needing to know the end result or the “why” like my five year-old, that we ignore the fact that God has the ultimate plan.
So many times I am guilty of doing just that. Arguing with God. Complaining that He doesn’t understand how hard it is for me to let go of something or someone. How scared I am to speak to someone about Him. But why do I argue then wonder why I feel like I’m missing out on something? Maybe it’s because I am. Peter’s life was the perfect example of how doing one simple act of obedience that made no sense to him, changed the course of his life. He didn’t complain or argue, and he was a shining example to all those in his generation. Yes, he struggled at times, even denied Christ in the hours before His crucifiction, but God took all Peter’s experiences and used them to help him eventually lived boldly for The Lord and helped establish the early Church.
So is there something God is calling you to do, but you’re asking why or telling Him that is doesn’t make sense? Do everything without complaining or arguing isn’t just a good mantra that we tell our kids. Let us lead by example when God is calling us to obey and stay focused on Jesus.