We all want to experience the presence and power of Jesus in our lives every day but then we work against it. We want it but we don't realize what we have to set aside to experience it. Our behaviour and attitude have a big role in our sensitivity to the Spirit. Jesus is always with us, he promised, but it doesn't mean we are cultivating a relationship that makes us sensitive to this presence. Let's pick on one thing today, that we all do, which acts as a dampener to sensitivity.
We may be surprised to discover how much we complain in a day. It would be interesting to track it one day, just to note every time we complained and then add it up at the end of the day. For some of us complaining comes as easily as breathing. Even when we try to hold it in it always finds a way of coming out. We complain from the weather right up to complaining against Yahweh and everything in between. We are not alone as complainers.
The Israelites were huge complainers after Yahweh had rescued them from Egypt. They complained about the food, the water, the leadership, about Yahweh himself. It was enough to make any leader quit. Worse than that, it led that generation to rebel against Yahweh when they were told to enter the Promised Land and possess it. Their complaining revealed a dissatisfaction and mistrust of Yahweh. That entire generation died out in the desert and the generation that emerged was the strongest generation Israel ever produced, and they were non-complainers.
Jesus also received his unfair share of complaints. Every time he did something great, like heal a man with a withered hand, there were people there to complain about it. There was one incident where a chief tax collector was trying to get close to Jesus. Obviously Jesus offered something the man felt was lacking in himself. Jesus accommodated this by pointing Zacchaeus out and then inviting himself to his home for a meal. This man's life was about to be changed for the better and what do we hear from people nearby:
But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19:7)
Praise the Lord, he still has meals with sinners and how glad we all are for it. These people would try to dampen the sensitivity of Zacchaeus to Jesus but he would have nothing to do with it. In the face of it he stood and demonstrated evidence of salvation as he pledged restitution for any evil he may have done. That's how we need to deal with any complaints within ourselves, stand up against them with a demonstration of love.
The first step in dealing with this is to admit that we do it. Yes Lord, I am a complainer. I complain against my neighbour, my friends, my church, my government, even you Lord. Then ask that he would renew your heart, to remind you again of his great mercies. Worship also helps to kill a complaining Spirit at the roots but make sure it is worship that springs forth from the Word. Worship Yahweh for who he is not for who you think he is. Ask that he would renew his love in you for other people, especially sinners, and you will begin to see things change. Then face that complaint and pour love all over it. Love Yahweh with your all and love your neighbour and you will have no room for a complaining Spirit and you will again experience sensitivity to his presence.