It’s easy to complain when circumstances don’t go our way. Or just as easy to feel justified in being upset. Thankfully, God has encouragement for us when we are tempted to give in to feelings of self-pity or bitterness.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Philippians 2:14 NIV)
There is a clear directive to not complain (or grumble, as other versions translate it). We should remember how much the Lord has done for us, and how He is working in every situation, even situations that seem unpleasant at the time. We deserve hell and have instead received mercy. That truth alone should not only be enough reason to stop complaining, but more than enough reason to walk through any situation in life with joy.
I once sat, frustrated, as I told a friend that I would walk through what God had laid out for me , but I didn’t have to enjoy it. She quickly countered with James 1: 2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
God doesn’t want us just to refrain from complaining, but to truly “consider it joy” when trials come our way. This attitude takes into account God’s goodness, faithfulness, and overall character that has been demonstrated over and over in our lives and the lives of those around us. We can consider trials as joy because we know the One who is working through them and in us– both for our benefit and for His glory. We can give thanks because of what God has done and is doing rather than being caught up in our own emotions.