Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from December 5-11 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as the Fenway site pastor of Symphony Church in Boston. Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny, who recently gave birth to their first baby Tyler.
Devotional Thought for Today
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
If you’re at a restaurant and your waiter is slow to fill up your glass of water, you can immediately pull out your phone and give that restaurant a bad review on Yelp. If you’re on vacation, staying at a hotel, and you’re not satisfied with the softness of your bed, you can just go on TripAdvisor and tell everyone in the world about your bad experience. And when you’re stuck in traffic on the highway, you can let everyone around you know about your frustrations—without even speaking a word—by just hitting that little spot in the middle of your steering wheel.
We live in a culture where the option to complain or grumble is seemingly built into every situation. Whether it’s small things, like bad service at a restaurant or hotel or heavy traffic on our way home, or big things, like feeling unhappy about our careers or the way a family member is inconsiderate, we are so prone to grumbling—because it’s just so easy to do.
At the root of all complaining is discontentment or dissatisfaction about our circumstances, because life isn’t going the way we want or think it should go. So when Paul tells us to do ALL things without grumbling, it’s a nearly impossible command, because it’s pretty rare for life to go exactly the way that we think it should go. In all things, there is always a reason for us to grumble.
To combat a grumbling heart, psychology tells us to be glass-half-full kind of people; that is, think positively, have an upbeat attitude about life, or focus on all of the good things that you are thankful for in life. But we all know that a positive mindset can only work for so long—sooner or later, even the good things of this world will disappoint us.
How do we follow this command then? The only way to save us from grumbling hearts is to focus our minds on something not of this world—by that, I mean God Himself. On this side of heaven, nothing in this world is exactly the way it should be—all good things of this world will fade. But when we turn the eyes of our hearts towards God in worship, we are focusing on the only “thing” that will never fade, the only one who will not disappoint, the source of true contentment.
On this Lord’s Day, let us focus our eyes on Jesus in worship. Let us leave behind the desires and expectations of our hearts about how everything should be, and seek to be with Him who will make all things new.
Prayer: Jesus, help me to focus on You this day. I pray that in all things, I will be satisfied by Your presence. Bless me as I worship You this day. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 1