Our purpose in life is to give glory to God. Unknowingly we very often do the opposite. How? We steal Glory from God through our discontent. This is manifested in complaining, impatience, and negative responses, like “Oh no!” “Not again!” “Jeezz!” and “This is terrible!” I see this tendency so clearly in myself, especially when there’s pressure or sickness.
Discontent is just the opposite of praise and thankfulness. It is saying “God isn’t always good!” It is saying, “He didn’t handle this well!” It is an insult to our Holy, Loving, All-powerful, Sovereign King. In contrast, as John Piper is fond of saying, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” That includes being satisfied in Him in all He allows into our lives and how He handles these things.
What does God think about our discontent? In Numbers 11:1 it says, “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.”
Discontent that leads to complaining is not a small thing in God’s eyes. It is the visible evidence of our rebellion and unbelief. It is a statement that we know better than God. It is a sin that we must immediately confess and repudiate in repentance.
How do we combat our very natural tendency to complain and be discontent? First is to recognize it, confess it for the serious sin it is and repent. Then we can ask God for help in replacing it with satisfaction in Him. This is followed by actively praising God in and for all, based on our knowledge of His wonderful, powerful, rich and loving character.
For instance: “I praise you Lord, for the privilege of losing my keys; it reminds me of my weakness and dependence on you. I thank you that you know where they are and will help me to find them at the right time. I praise you for this opportunity to trust you and forgive myself.”
“Thank you, Lord, that I just go my wallet stolen. You are the Sovereign King, you will use this happening for good in my life, and I praise you for it.”
Praise and thanksgiving like that gets up the shield of faith, protecting us from the fiery darts of self-pity, complaining and discontent that Satan shoots at us to activate these sins within us.
Psalm 143:8 says, “Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning, for I trust in you.” Another step is to nurture our first love for Jesus, as that will increase our trust in Him. Spending time each day gazing upon His perfection described in the Word and worshiping Him for it will increase our trust in Him. Then we will wake up in the morning thinking about His goodness rather than worrying about our troubles.
May God help us to spot our discontent, our complaining, our impatience, our snapping at one another, and replace it instead with trust and praise so that we may be more than conquerors dressed in the armor of God.
“He who offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me and opens the way that I may show him the salvation of the Lord.” Psalm 50:23
PS. PS. Typical of the Lord, immediately after writing this, He tested me: would I apply what I’d written? I had my list of things to do today, and suddenly I couldn’t find it! What I had done with it I had no idea! But, praising God, resting in Him, I went on with my work and within half an hour the thought came to me where it might be, and there it was! I had joy in the loss and joy in the finding. Supernatural joy.