Murmuring and Arguing


Philippians 2:14-15

Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world.


This is a continuation of the thoughts from Paul which he wrote after including the beautiful first-century hymn. Because of all Jesus has done for us, then we are to act in particular ways. We follow the example of Christ, who did not complain, but emptied himself and became a human. Just think of all the ways in which Jesus could have murmured and argued with the Father! Living in human flesh, as we all know, is not always pleasant. 

The implication is that the people of the secular world loved to murmur and argue, and that those who follow Christ don’t respond in the same way that others in the world may. In the midst of corruption and perversion, Christians are to shine like stars. 


There are days in which I really do feel like murmuring and complaining. I’m thinking that I have this skill along with the best of us. That’s why this scripture is so challenging, because it reminds us of the incredible sacrifice of Christ and his beautiful response, and the challenge to all of us. To follow Christ means that we learn to respond to the difficulties of life in a way that reflects our relationship with him.

I’ll confess that my struggle in this area is when I feel that there has been an injustice. What is our response to be? Do we stand up for the injustice, or do we allow things to happen so we are not murmuring or complaining? When are we complaining, and when are we simply standing up for what is right? How far do we press an issue? Have you ever found yourself there? This causes me angst because I want to be like Christ, and yet, I feel that allowing people to get away with abuses that affect others, or maybe even me, is just not fair! I’m praying for that place in which I find the right balance and that I can imitate Christ. 

This leads me to believe that the murmuring and arguing may have been about petty things. There seems to be a connection to a crooked and perverse generation, and the new Christian life may have seemed a heavy burden to bear because it would have been so radically different from Roman society. Yes, Paul thought that Christ’s followers could shine like stars in the world, and this needed to be done without murmuring or complaining. Jesus had challenged his followers to take up the cross and follow him. Yes, do this without murmuring or arguing. Serve Jesus every single day in ways which will be contrary to society, and do it with a good attitude!

We have tried to live dangerously close to the practices of the world. In some ways, we have made our faith a Christianity of convenience. It’s easier not to argue or murmur when there’s nothing to give up! The reality of the commitment to Christ is one of self-sacrificial living, just like Jesus. He gave up everything for us, and we are to be willing to give up everything for him. We do this without murmuring or arguing, and the result is that we shine like stars in comparison to the dark, perverted, and crooked world in which we live. 


Lord, thank you for your resurrection life which gives power to transform. Please, help me to live in that power, willing to be at odds with the world around. Amen. 


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