Do all things without grumbling or disputing;Philippians 2:14(NASB)
The apostle Paul showed great concern for the spiritual wellbeing of the believers in Philippi. We see his deep affection shining forth as he spoke words of reassurance and encouragement to the congregation - exhorting them to live lives that honour the Lord in thought, word, and deed.
"Do all things without complaining and disputing," is his godly advice. He wants them to be blameless and harmless children of God, without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. As children of God, we are to become shining as lights in a dark and dismal world. We are to hold fast to the Word of life and everything we do is to be done without complaining or questioning the providence of God.
Paul knew how important it is, in Christian circles, to live together in the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace so that the cause of the gospel is not discredited before an unbelieving world. We are to pay attention to our actions and attitude, and Paul encouraged the believers at Philippi to live humbly before God and to do nothing out of selfish ambition or opportunism. He exhorts them (and us) to do ALL things without grumbling - to do ALL things without disputing - to do ALL things in lowliness of mind where each esteems the other as better than himself.
Perhaps the little word 'ALL' is the pivotal crux upon which this directive from Paul rests, for it is easy to be content when life is pleasing or if people are thoughtful, caring, and kind. We would not murmur if perfumed flowers poured daily into our laps, nor would we dispute with people who always hold to our particular point of view! What godly lives we would live if it were not for the foibles of others!
But this life is fraught with disappointments and disturbances and we are warned that murmuring is the consequence of unbelief, while disputing is the product of a discontented heart which brings in its wake grievances, disease, envy, and sin, as exemplified in Israel’s forty-year long wilderness wanderings when the people murmured against God's wisdom and complained about His gracious provision.
God, in His wisdom, knows that patient-endurance, humility of heart, and a soul that trusts in the Lord, does not spring forth from a stress-free life but is the out-working of a man or woman who has received God’s sufficient grace to face any temptation or trial which may happen along the way.
Paul knew that a Christ-like character is not birthed from a bed of ease and that blameless integrity and spiritual maturity takes many long years, if not a lifetime, to fully develop as one is tried like silver or honed in a millstone of suffering. God uses the storms, sadness, disappointments, and dangers of everyday life, as well as the difficult people that cross our path, to conform us into the likeness of Christ.
Let us, therefore, resist the temptation to enter into murmurings and disputes with one another and let us trust the Lord in all things so that our lives will be a living sacrifice that becomes, to Him, a sweet fragrance and we will become blameless and pure children of God, without fault in this warped and crooked generation.
Loving Father, I confess that my sin nature is prone to murmurings and disputings which I recognise displays unbelief in You and pride in myself. Help me to take every thought captive to Christ, moment by moment, and enable me to cast all my cares upon You, knowing that You care for me. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.