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The Problem of the Petulant

October 22, 2015

Boss - Angry 4Disgruntled people will be disgruntled. Those who are disgruntled will find reasons to express their discontent and nothing can ever be done that will satisfy their. They will always be unhappy about something. They will be upset because of the people who missed church, the wrong person in a particular ministry, a poor decision made by the pastor, because the music was too slow or the songs were too fast, the sermon was too long, the sound system was too loud, the kids make too much noise, or any number of other reasons. The list of complaints is endless because the one who is discontent will always find a justification for it. Churches are filled with imperfect people who give ample opportunity for the disgruntled to complain. Sometimes they never say a word of complaint but look with disapproval on everything. Whether the disgruntled be outspoken or quiet they are poisonous to the church and destructive to their own souls. The disgruntled will eventually leave the church looking for a place that will satisfy them, but until the heart issue is dealt with they will be unsatisfied no matter where they attend.

if you are disgruntled, the problem is not the church, the pastor or any of the other causes for complaint. You are disgruntled because you have an idolatrous vision of the church. Israel in the wilderness provides a powerful case study of the disgruntled heart. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul uses Israel as an illustration to warn the church against idolatry. In verse 6 Paul warns against lusting after evil things. Verse 7 commands to flee from idolatry. Verses 9-10 warn against the disgruntled behaviors which flow from idolatrous desires. Verse 14 closes the section with a repeated warning against idolatry. Murmuring and complaining is evidence of a heart full of idolatry.

The disgruntled is dissatisfied because his idolatrous desires are not being met. He is not getting from the church what he wants and reveals his sin with a critical attitude. Sometimes the idolatrous desires are sinful in themselves. The desire for notice, influence, authority or praise are wrong desires that when not gained will result in a discontented attitude. Some desires are not wrong by themselves but when made too much of they become idolatrous. These good desires gone bad may the longing for a well run church, an excellent program, a larger attendance or more people involved. The failure to have aspirations realized results in a discontented demeanor that quickly grows into a critical spirit.

The ultimate solution to disgruntledness is found in the first five verses of 1 Corinthian 10. Recognize that all good and necessary things have been provided for us in Christ. Just as He delivered, guided, supplied and sustained the Israelites, so He does His church and each Christian. Despite the often real problems in the church, the problems are not the problem. The disgruntled person has an internal problem: a heart that is not content with the provision of Christ. Rather than deal Biblically with legitimate problems and rest peacefully in Christ, the disgruntled develop a bad attitude that infects their soul, hinders their Christian growth and makes it almost impossible for them to gain any spiritual benefit from the church gatherings.

The church is never perfect. Circumstances are never perfect. Sometimes things go horribly wrong. The desert really is hot, there really is no water, there really is suffering because of food shortages. All these problems are real, but in the midst of them all is a supreme reality: Jesus. He is at work in you and your church. He will give all good and necessary things for the continued spiritual growth of the believers. Stop focusing on the desires that are not being fulfilled and lock your gaze upon the One who is all you need. Remain content in Christ.


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