Two and a half weeks ago, my laptop–my prize possession after my Bible–started giving me trouble. I had to send away for the item I needed to fix it.
Then seven days ago, I woke up with what I thought was just a kink in my neck. It became clear after several days that I had pulled a muscle. The pain made my normal activities, such as working on the computer, sleeping or writing difficult.
I wanted to complain. I wanted to scream about how it wasn’t fair, about how the forces of the universe were ganging up on me. Instead I decided to focus on what was going right rather than wrong. The pain and the laptop problems couldn’t last forever. I just had to be patient and wait.
The word complain, as in James 5:9 (NAS). comes from the transliterated Greek word stenazo, which means a sigh, to groan.
How often do we complain when things go wrong? When we are stuck in traffic. When the chef doesn’t make our meal just as we ordered. When the computer loses a very important file.
I challenge you to become aware of how many times you complain in a day. In an hour? Many times we don’t even know that we are doing it. Many times we react without thinking.
But words are very important. What we say is very important. We are creative beings made in the image of God. He says in Mark 11:23 that we can have what we say. If we say negative words, negative things will occur in our lives. If we say positive words, positive things will happen for us.
Now, I ask you, do you really want what you have been saying to manifest in your life?
The children of Israel complained in the wilderness. They complained about the food, the water, the leadership. What happened to them? Most of them died in the wilderness. Most of them didn’t enter the land that God promised them.
Miriam, Moses’ sister, murmured against her brother. What happened to her? She developed leprosy and had to be put out of the camp.
Miriam and the children of Israel focused on the bad that was happening around them, as most of us do. Instead they needed to be directing their attention toward the good. They were alive. They were no longer in slavery. God provided food and water for them. Their shoes never wore out.
As long as we focus on the bad, we will see everything through a bad mind set. Instead if we force ourselves to pick out at least five good things about any situation, we will begin to see our circumstances more positively. And our lives will reflect our new attitude.
When a race car driver is learning to race, his instructor tells him what to do if he is about to crash into a wall. The instructor advises him to focus on where he wants the car to go. Strangely enough, when he does, the car moves in that direction.
So it is in life. Focus on where you want to go, and your life will follow.