Imagine being held in captivity for years. Finally, you have someone who is willing to lead you to freedom. However, you didn’t realize freedom entailed a harsh wilderness. Things don’t seem to be going the way you intended. Everything seems to be uncertain to you, even the leadership that’s supposed to be guiding you to freedom seems uncertain. You may be lead to think, “If this is freedom, I’d rather go back to captivity.” If you pay close attention, you may be able to recognize this story. This is the story of how the Children of Israel were being lead out of captivity by one of God’s chosen vessels, Moses. God helped the Children of Israel escape the unruly government of the land and continued to protect them throughout their journey. But, all they seemed to do was complain. They even caused opposition against their leadership, Moses. If you look even closer you may be able to realize that we, the Children of God, can be the same way. As believers, we were lead out of the bondage of sin and we are now charged to live a life of holiness. It’s so easy to complain when things aren’t going our way or even when things become a little difficult. I pray that as you’re reading this, the Lord is convicting you to avoid complaining. Below, you will find a Focus Challenge to help you be more intentional about giving thanks to God when it becomes tempting to complain.
Do you find yourself complaining about school and the burden that it can sometimes entail on your life? There are many individuals who would love to have the opportunities you have available to you. You may know of people who can’t afford college or they have other responsibilities that occupy their time. Remember that God intentionally placed you here for a reason, use your education to glorify him. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”- 1 Corinthians 10:31
So, on this day, begin to thank for your education. Sure, things may be overwhelming at times. You may have accumulated student loans, grey hairs and lost time. Isn’t God a provider? Does he know how many hairs we have on our head? Isn’t he the author and finisher of our faith? Be thankful.
Do you find yourself complaining about your job or not being able to find a job? Many of us have probably had tough jobs or worked with individuals who are tough to get along with. If you have a crazy boss or crazy co-workers, remember that there is something that God wants to do in you. God is trying to develop something in your character so, when you become your own boss or you have to deal with tough situations you know how to handle it. Also, bear in mind that God hasn’t forgotten about you. That employer that hasn’t called you back or has said you don’t have enough experience, God knows about it.
So, on this day, begin to thank God for your job. Begin to thank him for developing your character and thank him for opening doors in your life. John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Be thankful.
Do you find yourself complaining about not having enough money? Yes, money is essential. But, do you let the thought of having money overshadow your life? Do these words sound familiar to you,” I hate being broke!” “I never have enough money!” The bible says in 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Understand that having money is not a sin. Desiring money is not a sin. However, when the thought of money or lack of money consumes your thinking, it leads to poor choices. Then, opportunities such as selling drugs and other jobs that invade your spiritual integrity may begin to sound appealing.
So, on this day, begin to thank God for being a provider and avoid focusing on not having money. You may not be able to afford a new car or a new bag but, God is faithful to provide for his children. Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Be thankful.
Do you find yourself complaining about being single? “Lord, where is my Boaz?” “Where is my Ruth?” Maybe you look at other relationships and desire that for yourself. #Relationshipgoals “They go to church together, they pray together, they seem to have a really Godly relationship.” We don’t really know where their hearts are with God. We also don’t know the spiritual journey these individuals had to embark before their union. Understand that you are single for a reason. If God presented his best to you right now, would you be ready? When you consume your thoughts on why you’re single and not being content in this season, you become one step closer to settling. “He/She may not be God’s best but, he/she will do for now.” It’s not okay to settle. Allow God to preserve you for his VERY BEST and enjoy this season of singleness. Allow him to shape you into the man/woman of God you are destined to be.
So, on this day, begin to thank God for your season of singleness. You may not have a bae right now but, God is giving you an opportunity grow. Reflect on 1 Corithians 7: 25-40. Learn, grow, mature and be thankful.
Do you find yourself complaining about your body image? “I hate my nose!” “My belly is too pudgy!” “I hate my hair!” This is probably going to be one of the hardest habits for me to break. Our culture presents an unrealistic standard of perfection. Because celebrities are using waist trainers to build the “perfect hour glass body,” several individuals feel compelled to do the same thing. Girls who want to be a “pretty light skin,” will use harmful bleaching products to achieve this look. Males may spend an unnecessary amount of hours in the gym and use steroids to achieve a certain look. Understand that complaining opens the door for self-esteem issues and obsession.
So, on this day, begin to thank God for your health. Begin to thank him for your uniqueness. We were all created in his image, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” -Genesis 1:27. If you have to tell yourself every day that you’re beautiful, do it. Don’t depend on other people to give you likes on a post or some type of attention. Be your own cheerleader! Be thankful.
Do you find yourself complaining about your position in the body of Christ? You may not want to say it out loud but, it rings clear in your heart. Maybe people tend to come to you for advice. Maybe you have that one individual that seems to be harassing you? They’re always calling you, needing your help in some way. Maybe you have the gift of singing and people are always asking you to perform at some service? Understand that God has a reason for everything. People are always asking for your advice because God has given you the gift of relatability. People are always asking you to sing because God has given you the gift of ministry through song. God wants to use you exceedingly and abundantly. Your position in the body of Christ is highly essential. That person who really needs someone to talk to may be battling suicide thoughts. You ministering to a group of college students may be the difference between life and death to some individuals. Never take your position for granted. 2 Timothy 4:5 “You, however, be self-controlled in all things, endure hardship, do an evangelist’s work, fulfill your ministry.”
So, on this day, begin to thank God for your position in the body of Christ. Yes, things may get tough but is his grace not sufficient? Isn’t He made strong in our weakness? “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9. Thank him for the love, grace and salvation you received from him and the opportunity you have to share that with the world. Be thankful.