March 20, 2012

The Tent of Discontent

Philippians 2:5-15

They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD.
—Psalm 106:25


I don’t like the sensation in my spirit when I read the words of today’s verse. The unpleasant feeling is conviction, as in conviction of sin.

I can grumble at the gas station (high prices), at the library (the book I want isn’t available), at the grocery store (not enough checkout lanes open), in the car (no one is working in the construction zone), in the living room (my eyes get dry when I read at night), in the kitchen (emptying the dishwasher), on the driveway (the inside of the windshield smears when I clean it). Good grief—my tent of discontent is huge!

No wonder Jeremiah Burroughs’ 1648 classic is titled The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. And what he wrote in the book is true: “Murmuring is below the spirit of a Christian.”

No wonder Jesus had to die on the cross—our sins include even our grumbling, murmuring, complaining, and discontent. And he died without grumbling about our grumbling!

Jesus didn’t grumble; “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” We, then, should “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

Lent is a good time to work on our attitude and give up our grumbling.

Father, in this season, work in us the attitude of Christ Jesus. Help us to honor you as he did, in humble obedience. In his name we hope. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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