How can I do things without grumbling (some versions say complaining) when that is all I can think about. How can I love when all I do is hate? Does God expect us to get everything right? Why does He tell us to do things that seem impossible?
ESV - 14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning.
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The Christian life is about growing in God over time and exchanging our imperfect ways for God's holy and perfect ways. At the moment of salvation, we are justified and decreed clean and made whole by the blood of Christ; we no longer owe God the debt for our sins or our sin nature. However, the process of letting go of past sins and sinful mindsets--the process of our sanctification--is like peeling off layers of an onion as our hearts embrace more and more of God's truth and our eyes become more and more open to seeing the things in us that need to change. The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is a perfect illustration of this. Lazarus was restored to life, but he still bore the "wrappings of death," and he needed help in becoming "unwrapped." Jesus told the people in the crowd around the tomb to take the wrappings off of him because he was incapable of doing this himself. As we begin to let go of our old, dead lives once we're saved, we need the Holy Spirit and other Christians to help us leave behind all that used to bind us before becoming Christians. In and of ourselves, we'll never be perfect, but by the grace of God and the blood of Christ, we'll increase in godly character. Jesus told His disciples in Matt. 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Paul's advice to us in Romans 12:2 is this: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Sometimes our sins seem insurmountable, but God's grace IS sufficient for you to overcome all sin. 2 Cor. 12:9 says, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. I hope this helps.
We can only do the things that please God by the power of His Holy Spirit. Our flesh is weak and tends to complain, murmur, have tantrums, covet, be selfish, etc. Jesus died for us to give us victory over all of those human weaknesses. Then, He gave us His Holy Spirit as our Helper. We need His Spirit if we want to succeed at anything, even conquering our flesh and sin nature. God knows that we needed a Savior. He doesn't expect us to get it all "right." He does want us to surrender our weaknesses to Him. One of the things that I was taught, that has helped me so often is this: As you are praying to God, think about what part of your carnal or old man nature you want to have victory over. So, if you're having a problem with complaining, gossiping, unforgiveness, hating, bitterness, or whatever, say an "Exchange" prayer. (Evelyn Christensen taught this type of prayer very well). It would go something like this: "Lord, I find it very hard to forgive _____ for what she/he did to me. I know it's wrong to have unforgiveness and to hate in my heart. I surrender the hate and hardness in my heart for a soft heart, for a loving heart, for a heart like yours. I exchange this hatred for the loving heart You have for this person." So, whatever the weakness is, name that and its opposite. Surrender your negative and exchange it for His positive: I surrender my _____ and exchange it for Your ______ "hatred" - "love" "anger" - "peace" "depression - joy" "unkindness - kindness" and the list goes on I have done this so many times and it's been amazing at how easy it works. It can be short and simple. A devout, praying woman, Evelyn Christensen, taught that way of praying to help us overcome our weaknesses. She wrote a book on it. I can't remember the title.
They seem impossible because they are impossible. "Sanctify" yourself as much as you can and they are still impossible; that is the point. If we can actually attain this standard we no longer need a Savior. Look to Jesus, as the one who met the standard, who died that His perfect righteousness would cover your unrighteousness. Cling to Jesus, for He is our only hope.
I think that when it says all things, this is not necessarily always the miraculous or always in biblical proportions. The apostle Paul is talking about your every day activities, even your attitude with menial tasks; whatever it is do it without grumbling or complaining. The idea is to have the attitude and heart of a faithful servant, doing what you can however small for the Lord.
1. An understanding of WHO WE are (spirit, soul & body), WHO GOD is (the ALL I AM God) and who we're IN HIM is key in having victory over our natural tendencies. It is ONLY when we REMAIN CONNECTED to our TRUE SOURCE of strength that we can overcome; because it is by GRACE and not of ourselves. My flesh and my heart MAY FAIL, BUT GOD IS THE strength of my heart and MY PORTION FOREVER. (Psalm 73:26 NIV) 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:4, 5, 7, 8 NIV) AND ALL ARE JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH the redemption that CAME BY Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24 NIV) Therefore, the promise comes by faith, SO THAT IT MAY BE BY GRACE and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:16 NIV) 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access BY FAITH INTO THIS GRACE IN WHICH WE NOW STAND. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1, 2 NIV) For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, BUT UNDER GRACE . (Romans 6:14 NIV It is expedient to read the entire chapter) I can do ALL THIS THROUGH HIM WHO gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV) IT DOES NOT, therefore, DEPEND ON human desire or effort, BUT ON God’s mercy. (Romans 9:16 NIV) So he said to me, “This is THE WORD OF THE LORD TO Zerubbabel: ‘NOT BY might nor by power, BUT BY MY SPIRIT,’ SAYS THE Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6 NIV) 8 The Lord is compassionate and GRACIOUS, SLOW TO ANGER, ABOUNDING IN LOVE. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 HE DOES NOT TREAT US AS our sins deserve OR repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, SO GREAT IS HIS LOVE FOR THOSE WHO FEAR HIM; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, SO THE LORD HAS COMPASSION ON THOSE WHO FEAR HIM; for HE KNOWS HOW WE ARE FORMED, HE REMEMBERS THAT we are dust. (Psalm 103:8-14 NIV) 2. Having the mind of Christ is equally important, which can only be developed by a renewing of our minds from the old order ( man's) to the new order(God's) Romans 12:2, and achieved THROUGH a continuous STUDY & MEDITATION of God 's WORD 2 In your relationships with one another, have THE SAME MINDSET AS Christ Jesus: 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but NOW MUCH MORE in my absence—CONTINUE TO WORK OUT YOUR salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU TO will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you MAY BECOME blameless and pure, “children of God without fault IN A WARPED and CROOKED generation.” THEN YOU WILL SHINE among them like stars in the sky 16 AS YOU HOLD FIRMLY TO THE WORD OF LIFE. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:5, 16 NIV)(Philippians 2:5, 12-16 NIV) “Now I commit YOU TO God AND TO THE WORD OF HIS GRACE, which CAN BUILD YOU UP AND give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32 NIV) The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The WORDS I have spoken to you—they are FULL of the SPIRIT and LIFE. (John 6:63 NIV) 3. Prayer is also paramount 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. YET NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS YOU WILLl.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “WATCH and PRAY SO THAT YOU WILL NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION. The SPIRIT IS WILLING, BUT the FLESH IS WEAK.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, MAY YOUR WILL BE DONE.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. (Matthew 26:38-44 NIV) 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. (Psalm 19:12, 13 NIV) 11 I HAVE HIDDEN YOUR WORD IN MY HEART THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN AGAINST YOU. 27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. 28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. 29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law. 33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 66 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 105 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. 116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. 117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. 132 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (Psalm 119: 11, 27-29, 33-37, 66, 105, 114, 116, 117, 130 & 132 NIV) 7 Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:7 & 10 NIV)
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