God does not mind speaking directly with us about our complaining. In Philippians 2:14, he says, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” Now “all things” is quite comprehensive. The question naturally follows, “But what about when I meet circumstances that are worthy of my murmuring? What if I murmur in private to my spouse? What if I murmur to myself in my head? Is there not any place for my murmurings? And now we have begun to murmur about the very Bible verse that tells us to stop our murmuring. The teaching is quite simple: All of our complaining has to die.
Faith is the key ingredient. By faith we mortify our complaining. By unbelief we pour gasoline on our complaining. Difficulties are a given. Adversity will not go away in this life. Amid a fallen world, the Apostle Paul says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” And he adds, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). Now to the saint on the verge of a murmuring fit, the first command sounds like too much to bear: “I don’t work out anymore. I need a break. This cross is heavy.”
But the promise that immediately follows provides the much needed energy: “God works in you to will and to do.” What do you do with that? You see, you are not allowed to complain. But you are allowed to believe. You are shut up in one way. And you are entirely free in another. Chirst died for you and liberated you from bitterness and the slavery of continual venting.