On Avoiding Murmuring

“Do all things without murmuring and disputing…”
— Philippians 2:14

When Paul tells the Philippian Christians to do all things without murmuring, we should remember that just a moment before that he told them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Not work for your salvation—to work it out, for it is God who is working in our hearts.

How are we to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? Well, he says that we are to do all things without murmuring and disputing. The word murmuring sounds like what it describes. The Scripture in a number of times tells us to avoid murmuring and grumbling.

In John 6:41, we read “The Jews then murmured about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread which came down from heaven.’” You can almost hear the muttering, the grumbling, the low tones, the complaining, and the discontent of them. In verse 43, just two verses further, “Jesus therefore answered them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves.’”

In I Corinthians 10:10, Paul cautions, “Neither murmur, as some of them also murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer.” Twice in that same verse—“neither murmur, as some of those,”—those were the Israelites in the Old Testament wanderings, and they murmured against the Lord, and they were destroyed. They murmured against Moses as well, and they were destroyed. If you know the joy of Christ in your heart, it follows that you will avoid a complaining spirit.

Jesus, Bread of Life, thank You for feeding us and caring for us. Forgive us that we so often complain and murmur. Give us the strength to replace murmuring with thanksgiving…