In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
–1 Thessalonians 5:18

What is the cure for complaining? In a word, it is gratitude. The cure for complaining is not focusing on what God hasn’t done but focusing instead on what He has already done. I think it is tragic that after the parting of the Red Sea, after the Song of Moses in Exodus 15, you never find one instance of the Israelites ever expressing gratitude to God for His many blessings. They went through some religious rituals, but no heartfelt gratitude was ever offered–only complaining.

Whenever you are tempted to complain about your mate, take a moment to thank God for providing him or her in your life. When you are tempted to complain about your job, thank God for providing a way for you to earn a living. We need to remember what God has done for us. Thanks be to God for what He has done and for His undeserved blessings on our lives.

Pastor Mark Buchanan wrote about a mission trip he once took to Uganda. He did not like the people he was with; he did not like the food; he did not like anything. Everyone else was participating in the worship service, but he was too upset to join in. “The music sounded squawky. I was miffed at someone on our missions team. I found the food bland, tasteless. I was feeling deprived and misunderstood. I found the joy of others hollow, mustered-up. I was miserable, and I wanted to wallow in it.” Then the pastor of that Ugandan church asked if anyone had something to share. One woman shouted, “Oh, brothers and sisters, I love Jesus so much!” “Tell us, sister! Tell us!” the congregation shouted back. “Where do I begin to tell you how good He is to me?” the woman asked. “Begin there, sister! Begin right there!” the congregation shouted. The woman explained that for three months she had prayed to God for shoes. “And look!” she said, showing one of her feet. “He gave me shoes!” The people in the Ugandan church clapped and whistled and praised God loudly. “But not me,” Mark said. “I was devastated. I sat there broken and grieving. In an instant, God snapped me out of my self-pity and plunged me into repentance. In all my life, I had not once prayed for shoes. It never even crossed my mind. And in all my life, I had not even once thanked God for the many, many shoes I had. Thanklessness becomes its own prison.”

Gratitude is the key that releases you and me from the prison of complaining and thanklessness. Express your gratitude to God. Paul said it this way in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cure For Complaining” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.

Mark Buchanan, “The Holy Wild” (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2005), 106-107.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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