Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
Phil 2:12-15 (KJV)
One thing that would serve us well as believers is to remember that the best place to be is in the perfect will of God. Regardless of our understanding of the circumstances that we might find ourselves in, if we are in the Father’s will we are in the best place. It does not matter whether we like them or not. One of the best things we can do is embrace the moment we are in, and praise the Lord. The heart of worship always acknowledges Him for Who He is, and always rejoices in Him. Even in the most difficult situation, praise is one of our highest callings. That is why it is called the sacrifice of praise. As hard as it can be to grasp when we are overwhelmed emotionally, praise is one of our closest allies. We know that God inhabits the praises of His people (see Psalm 22:3), and in the presence of God is fullness of peace. Praise as an act of faith declares our victory found in the Lord! While praise invites the presence of the Lord, murmuring has the opposite affect.
Murmuring will limit God in our lives at every turn. As our opening text tells us to “do all things without murmurings and disputings,” one cannot claim to be fulfilling the will of God in the truest sense while murmuring during the whole process. Obedience to God means to submit our will to Him with a heart of belief, with the intent to conform to His desires out of love for Him. Murmuring is a sign of distrust and in some cases, outright rebellion. It says that God’s will is not good, which indicates that He is not good. Basically, when a person murmurs against God, he is attacking the character of God. Murmuring shows a lack of faith and trust in the Lord, and blames Him for the difficulties of life –many of which people have brought on themselves. It says that God cannot deliver them out of their circumstances, and that all things are impossible for Him; even though, Scripture plainly says, “All things are possible with God.” Granted, there are times we may initially react to less than perfect situations out of anger or fear, but that does not mean we have to stay in that anger or fear. That’s the time to stop, and turn to God; not turn away from Him.
Another element of murmuring pertains to those who the Lord has placed over us in authority. This is an important point to grasp in relation to obedience: when we murmur against those God has placed in authority over us, we are murmuring against Him. For example, when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they murmured against Moses and Aaron. Moses told them what they did not realize: “your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8, KJV). Everything God does has a purpose, which includes those who are in authority over us. Keep in mind that we need to ask the Lord as to whom we are to submit to before we do. One example is that sometimes people find themselves working for those who were never supposed to be in authority over them because they were not supposed to take a particular job. They did not ask the Lord whether that was the place for them. Another example can be found in 2Corinthians 8:5 pertaining to the churches of Macedonia, “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” Before those in Macedonia submitted to Paul’s authority, they submitted to the Lord’s will in relation to Paul. Because it was God’s will to submit to him, they did. Keep in mind that those who God allows to be in authority over us can be the result of what is in our heart. The type of government a nation has often reflects the heart of its people, especially in a democracy or republic.
Finally, murmuring destroys: “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:10-11,KJV). Murmuring wreaks havoc in our lives as it limits the hand of God. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him . . .” As already stated, murmuring reveals a person’s lack of faith. The things of the Kingdom operate by faith, and without it, we cannot effectively function in it. Murmuring in some cases may be a sign that someone is not walking with God. It is a fruit of ungodliness. Jude 1:16 declares that the ungodly are, “Murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts . . .” This is not to say that if a person has a heated moment he is lost. Murmuring destroys is our testimony, and fails to glorify God. Our opening text also said to, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” As we have looked at murmuring, we see that it falls in line with unbelief, maintaining a hardened heart, rejecting the will of the Father, and living a double life in relation to ways that we can limit God in our lives. Therefore, it would behoove us to ask the Lord to examine our hearts to see where we are in relation to Him.