Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Cheerful Heart

I am taking on a new challenge as I spend time with God each week.  Each week, I am asking Him to show me something specific in my life that I need to work on and I am looking up Bible verses to help me overcome these areas with His strength.  As Christians, we should all be doing this, but sometimes it’s easier to work on broad areas such as: I hope to be a better friend, or to have a better quiet time, etc.  I am finding it a bit challenging to really pin point certain areas that need work and even more challenging to try and give God complete reign over these areas. It has also been shocking and humbling to discover how much I truly struggle in certain areas.  This reminds me more and more how much I need to rely on Christ’s strength and not my own. 

This week, I am working on replacing a complaining spirit with a cheerful heart. 

Why does it seem to be so much easier to complain than to have a cheerful heart?  Have you ever taken the time to count how many complaints come out of your mouth in a day?  As I have been working on this, I have made myself more aware of the words that are coming out of my mouth.  I have to admit: I’m a little ashamed at the number of negative comments that come flying from my mouth, especially since I’m consciously trying to work on it! 

I think it’s easier to complain because we are always unsatisfied.  We have a sinful nature that always wants more.  If we do not take this wrong attitude to Christ and ask Him to help us change, this sinful attitude can lead us down a road of misery.  The misery not only affects us, however, but it affects those who are around us as well. 

What are some of the bad habits that you display when you have a complaining heart?  One of my bad habits is to sigh.  I never really thought of it being a “bad thing” necessarily until I started seeing my four year old son emulate this same behavior.  Just hearing him sigh shows me that he is having a complaining spirit instead of a cheerful, joyful spirit.  But, from whom did he learn this?  From his mother! 

Now, let’s contrast this with a person who is always cheerful, not just because life is going perfectly but because their joy is in the Lord and His Spirit is flowing from them.  What a difference!  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a person who is cheerful simply because my trust is in the Lord and because He wants us to find our joy in Him alone. 

Having a complaining spirit is one of those “sins” that we seem to disregard.  It doesn’t seem as “high on the list” as other sins, so we tend to skip right past it.  If we look into Scripture, however, we see that it is a sin and that all sin separates us from God.  We don’t need to fool ourselves into thinking that “little sins” will not affect our relationship with God and others.  It may not be fun to look at our faults and ask God to search our hearts, but when we do this, God truly transforms us by opening up our eyes to our need for Him and by helping us replace our sinful habits with His Spirit. 

It is also very easy to make excuses for why it's "okay" for us to complain.  I am 36 weeks pregnant right now, so there have been times where I have used the "pregnancy card" to make an excuse as to why I am complaining.  But, this is wrong.  Just because we may not be comfortable or our circumstances may not be favorable does not give us the right to disregard this sinful practice.  We all have a choice to make: will we choose to cave and let words flow from our mouth that neither give life or peace, or will we choose to look beyond our circumstances and choose words display a cheerful heart?  What kind of impact will it make on others and what kind of person will you become because of the attitude you chose?  

May we all take the time to see where a complaining spirit has crept into our lives and may we let the truth of Scripture keep us in check.

Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”

Colossians 3 16-17 “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Proverbs 17:22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”