What’s so bad about complaining? (Ch 9)

Restless Spirit After laying out the first five reasons in chapter 8 of The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs gives us the remaining seven “Evils of a Murmuring Spirit” in Chapter 9.

(Is anybody else besides me growing more uncomfortable the deeper we go underwater in this book?)

I’m grappling within my own soul to answer my contentment dilemma of the week: Can a wholesome desire for positive change cross over into discontentment?

Wanting a situation to improve is not wrong, nor necessarily a sign of discontentment. But it can grow into that. How do I know when it’s crossed the line? What is it that pushes it over the ugly edge?

And how can I use a spirit of humility to keep that from happening, or to repent if it already has?

I don’t find exact answers in this chapter. But what I do find is more and more motivation to keep searching. The evils below are quite ominous and I do want to avoid them at all costs.

* * * * *

Why is murmuring so bad? Because …

6. It undoes your prayers
If you’re never satisfied with God’s answers, why are you even praying at all?
Until you’re prepared to be at his disposal, don’t bother.

7. It has bad aftereffects
    (1) It eats up your time. Instead of spending your time in wholesome thought or worship, you’re vainly wasting it on discontented thoughts.
    (2) It makes you unfit for duty. Instead of performing your best at the job at hand, you’re too distracted with fretting over the affliction that has befallen you. 
    (3) It prompts wicked plans. In your discontent, you may make resolutions that are good for nothing except evil.
    (4) It robs you of a thankful attitude. You end up amplifying evil things and minimizing good things.
    (5) It causes a shift in your spirit. Many who have changed course for the bad can trace the root back to a discontented spirit.

8. It is a foolish sin
    (1) It’s foolish to diminish the enjoyment of what you do have by grumbling about what you don’t have.
    (2) It’s foolish because it doesn’t work. It adds nothing to your life.
    (3) It’s foolish because its resulting behaviors are shameful to you and your friends.
    (4) It’s foolish to complain about a gift before you even get it.
    (5) It’s foolish because it makes your burden even heavier than it normally would be.

9. It is dangerous
God hates murmuring; it provokes his wrath.
And beware that even if you’re not grumbling to others, God still hears the roaring in your heart. But you can’t hear him over the noise of your own grumbling.

10. It has the curse of God on it
If the ungodly continue to grudge, God will see that they never find any satisfaction. “But they shall say in the morning, Would God it were even! and at even, Would God it were morning!”

11. It has Satan’s spirit in it
The Devil is the most discontented being ever.
And the most dejected. When your spirit has no rest, consider if you have too much of that unclean spirit of Satan in you.

12. It can ruin the rest of your life
If you can’t learn to find contentment in afflictions, you’re in big trouble.
Life here will always have afflictions.

13. It provokes God to leave you alone
God may decide that if you constantly complain about his care and protection, he’ll withdraw it altogether
. Then what?

* * * * *

When you’re struggling with the question of discontentment, a worthy exercise is to look at the fruit being produced. Do you see any of these 13 evil effects growing alongside your affliction?

If so, humble yourself and seek the Lord’s guidance. It’s self-examination time for me (Psalm 139:23-24)

More from Chapter 9
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment


Jude St.John said...

"Can a wholesome desire for positive change cross over into discontentment?"

Wow! Great question! We are facing changes in our church and you have got me thinking about keeping a close eye on my attitude.

Great post!

Young Wife said...

Phew! That is convicting.

Brook said...

Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blog award. Keep up the good work!


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