The chilly November afternoon was about a week before Thanksgiving. I had just arrived at the Chicago O’Hare Airport. While awaiting my ride to pick me up, I pulled a small New Testament from my pocket and began to read in II Timothy, chapter 3: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy . . . ” (emphasis added).
The word unthankful seemed to jump off the page at me! We certainly are living in perilous times, and truly an epidemic of people being “lovers of their own selves” is present in our culture today. However, I was surprised to see unthankfulness in this list of sobering sins. God placed unthankfulness in the same list as unholiness! Before that day I had never considered ingratitude as having that level of seriousness.
As I began to search Scripture to see what God had to say about the importance of giving thanks and the seriousness of complaining, I made some startling discoveries. One discovery was that God takes murmuring and complaining much more seriously than I realized. God began to show me in His Word that when I murmured about a situation in my life, I was actually speaking against Him Who had caused or allowed that circumstance in my life.
If you have been on a Journey to the Heart before, you know that one of the hearts we study is the “murmuring heart.” Perhaps God has shown you the seriousness of your murmuring and how murmuring opens our hearts to attacks from the enemy to destroy us. (See I Corinthians 10:10.) So, what is the cure for murmuring and complaining?
In Scripture we read about a time when the children of Israel were murmuring and God sent fiery serpents to come bite them because of their complaining. When we complain, I believe we give “ground” to Satan in our lives and, in a sense, get bitten by the “serpent.” The cure for the murmuring by the children of Israel was the brass serpent. When they in faith looked at the brass serpent that Moses set on a pole at the Lord’s command, they were healed. Later, in John chapter 3, we are told that the brass serpent on the pole in the Old Testament was a picture of Christ being lifted up the on the cross in the New Testament. The cure for murmuring and complaining is looking in faith to the cross of Jesus Christ. There is no ungratefulness at the foot of the cross; there are only hearts overflowing with thanksgiving to God.
In I Thessalonians 5:18 we read, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” God desires that we give thanks, not just in some things or in most things, but in everything. In Psalm 22:3, we are told that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. When we begin to give thanks in the challenges of our lives instead of murmuring and complaining, we invite God into the situation. God inhabits and fills our praises! Murmuring recognizes and exalts the situation. Giving thanks lifts our eyes off the situation and exalts Jesus Christ.
When we give thanks in everything, every irritation becomes an invitation to fellowship with the Lord. Truly, when we face trying circumstances with thanksgiving, one of two things will happen: either God will change the situation, or He will allow the situation to remain and instead change us!
May this Thanksgiving holiday be a special time of giving thanks to the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever. Happy thanksgiving from the Journey to the Heart office!
Rejoicing in Christ,
Journey to the Heart