Do you have a complaining spirit? Are you often spewing out dissatisfaction, annoyance and frustration at the people and circumstances around you? In Numbers 11:1-15 we see the negative effects of a complaining spirit.
1. A complaining spirit keeps you from enjoying life and experiencing God's blessings.
We'll see later on in Numbers that those who had the habit of complaining did not experience the blessings that the faithful experienced. The complainers died in the desert, while the ones with faith entered God's Promised Land. If you want to enter your promised land, you need to stop complaining.
2. A complaining spirit negatively affects other people.
A complaining spirit is like a contagious disease. Not only does it eat up the complainer, it affects others too. It can spread like a disease among people, causing others to catch a complaining spirit (as it did in verse 4). It also causes trouble for the leaders (such as Moses in verses 10-15).
Notice in Numbers 11 where all the complaining started. Verse 4 says that the complaining started among the "rabble". Who are the rabble? The rabble is a term used for those people in Israel's camp who were a "mixed" breed; i.e. the foreigners among the Israelites. That is, they were not fully Israelite; rather they were part Israelite and part foreigner. After the "rabble" started complaining, the rest of the Israelites started complaining too (v4).
In the same way, you'll find that the most moaning and groaning will usually come from those of the "mixed" variety. By "mixed", I'm not talking about race. I'm talking about people whose commitment to Christ is mixed with immaturity and worldly values. On one hand they claim to be Christians. On the other hand, their commitment (or lack thereof) to Christ and His church, their actions, words, values, attitude and character make them largely indistinguishable from people of the world. Whether it's in a church, a family, a company, or a team, complaining can most often be found among the spiritual "rabble", the immature.
As followers of Jesus we are called to love everyone, including the "rabble", but always be careful to guard your heart and your mind when speaking with the rabble, lest you catch their complaining spirit too. In some cases, it's even necessary to tell the rabble "stop your complaining and grow up", both for their sake and the sake of the team.
3. God despises a complaining spirit.
A complaining spirit arouses God's fiery anger, as we see in verse 1. That's because a complainer is selfish, short-sighted and takes for granted all the good things God has done. It's no wonder Philippians 2:14-16 says:
Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life...
Praise God! If you want God's blessing for yourself, your family, your church, your business, or your team, you need to guard against a complaining spirit. Instead of a complaining spirit, choose an attitude of gratitude every day.
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for times when I've had a complaining spirit. As Your Word says, may I do everything without complaining or arguing. Instead of speaking words of complaint, today I choose an attitude of gratitude. Today I choose to hold onto You Jesus and trust that in You I have everything I need. In Jesus' name, Amen!