When faced with challenging situations, or even just the repetitiveness of daily tasks which can often involve small inconveniences, it can be easy to succumb to a cycle of grumbling and complaining. However, we see in the scriptures over and over, God calling us to live differently, to be the light as we go about our daily lives. Matthew 5:16 says ‘In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’
In addition to this, in Philippians 2:14-15, the Apostle Paul said, ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”
The Apostle Paul calls us to live out our faith considering who Jesus Christ is and what he has done, so our inner-beliefs match our outward behaviour. He encourages us to model Jesus’ example with a humble mindset and generosity of spirit which accurately reflects our belief and hope in the good news.
While we might sometimes find ourselves amidst trial, as followers of Jesus Christ we are to be marked by joy, not grumbling or complaining. As we spend time in this devotional series together, I hope you will be encouraged and reminded that we do not labour in vain and our deeds are a living example of the Word, in Jesus’ name.
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
Faith Without Deeds Is Dead
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
James 2:26 NIV
What does ‘faith without deeds is dead’ mean in James 2:26? If salvation is through faith, then our action should demonstrate it. When we receive salvation, we are committed to follow our Lord in doing good works (deeds) to fulfil our purpose in honouring God. Genuine faith in God naturally leads the Christian to participate in deeds. Salvation is free and cannot be earned. Therefore, the deeds we undertake are a natural reflection of our faith in our salvation.
In Philippian 2:12, the Apostle Paul commanded us to ‘continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.’ He is encouraging us as believers to live out our faith, continue to do good works, to fulfil our purpose in worshiping and honouring God.
As Christians, we may struggle to live out our faith at times, for selfish desires are contrary to the Spirit (Galatians 5:17), and we must not give up. Like Paul, we must persevere and let God help us grow in our spiritual journey with him.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ, who opens the way for salvation. Help me to live out my faith and purpose in practical terms to bring glory to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen
You are God’s Masterpiece
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 NIV
In Galatians 6:9, the Apostle Paul urges us not to ‘grow tired of doing good’. Paul knew that ‘doing good’ is hard work and he encourages us to continue living in a way that a follower of Jesus Christ should. God did not leave us to work alone as we are the work of God’s hand (Isaiah 64:8). Like a Master potter, God is shaping us and preparing us to do any good work that pleases him. God has a plan and vision for each one of us and he is working in us (2 Timothy 2:21). Paul encourages us to rely on God and not on our own effort to fulfil God’s purpose for us (Philippians 2:13).
Therefore, be confident that God is moulding you every day and continue to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 3:18). God who began ‘a good work’ in us will continue until it is finally finished (Philippians. 1:6). God’s Spirit is with us and our good works will bear fruit in due time. Jesus reminds us in John 15:16 that he chose us to ‘go and bear fruit.’ The result of healthy growth is continuing to bear spiritual fruits throughout our lives.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to you with a humble heart and ask that you will mould me into the vessel that is pleasing to you, so I can be fully used in your service. In Jesus Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.
Vital Ingredients of a Holy Life
Do everything without grumbling or arguing
It is easy to grumble and complain when things do not go the way we expect. Grumbling has become a way of life for many of us. We grumble about everything: the weather, our job, church, leadership, parking, and so on. Grumbling is a serious business because, when we grumble or complain, our complaints are against God who provides for us and shapes us. What comes out of our mouth when things don’t go our way indicates the true nature of our discipleship.
The Bible tell us that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Our tongue has a powerful influence on others. God is looking for a holy life, and one of the key areas that we must guard with all diligence is our tongue.
The Apostle Paul advises us to do all things without grumbling and disputing (Philippians 2:14). As followers of Christ, we are to adopt the humble and self-sacrificing servant heart of Jesus. To grumble against any person or circumstance is really to grumble against God who wills and works all things in our lives (Philippians 2:13).
Prayer: God, cleanse my heart and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to be grateful and speak words of encouragement to build up others and myself. In Jesus Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.
Gratitude or Grumbling?
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2 NIV
When you wake up every morning, do you feel appreciative that each day is God’s gracious gift to you? Are you filled with gratitude for the many blessings God gives you? In Exodus 16, God freed the Israelites from slavery and provided them manna and quails every day in the wilderness when they were hungry, but the Israelites were unhappy and grumbling despite the blessings. It’s very easy to slip into a grumbling, negative attitude, frustrated by the problems and irritations we face, rather than enjoying our loving God’s blessings.
The Apostle Paul taught that a heart overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7) comes from being grounded in faith. In Philippians 4:4, Paul appealed to the believer to ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!’.
Nick Vujicic, an Australian Christian evangelist and motivational speaker who was born with no hands and legs, would have lots to grumble about. Instead his message is one of thankfulness for God’s blessings. Which choice have you made? Grumbling or gratitude? Grumbling overlooks blessings, but gratitude finds blessings everywhere.
Prayer: God, help me to enjoy all the blessings you shower upon me. Please open my eyes so that I can count my blessings every day. Heavenly Father, thank you for your abundant grace and provision. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.
Lights in the World
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.
The Apostle Paul (Ephesians 2:10) said we are created in Christ to do good works and God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. In other words, like Christ, we live our lives to serve and not to be served – Servanthood.
Societal pressures and temptation can prevent us from doing the good works we are asked to do. To live ‘without fault’ as God’s children requires diligent effort (Philippian 2:15). The first step toward serving without grumbling is to pray for a humble and gracious heart. God promised, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9) and the Apostle Paul testified that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
When Paul said we will shine among them like stars in the sky (Philippians 2:15), his words closely resemble those of Jesus himself, who taught, ‘Let your light shine before others, so that the world may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:16)
Prayer: Dear God, please give me a humble and gracious heart to serve you. Help me shine like a star so that the world may see your goodness and glorify you. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen