Grumbling: A Heart Issue

It’s usually associated with mumbling under our breath, disgruntled words or sounds, and a sense of visible (and, I’d say, audible) displeasure. I’ve been before the LORD the last couple weeks with this topic (check out the last post for more), and He’s pressing in that grumbling is bigger than just what we see.

Is My Definition of “Grumbling” the Same as the God’s?

It started with verses I memorized with my kiddos when they were little (complete with hand motions, mind you). The Spirit brought these words (and a couple fun motions) to mind while I was thinking about “grumbling.”

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish, though you live in a crooked and perverse society in which you shine as lights in the world by holding on to the word of life…”

Philippians 2:14-16a NETB

“Grumbling,” (Greek word: “goggusmos”) means just what we’d think it would, according to its root word, “gogguzó,”–“to murmur or mutter (grumble) with muffled undertones; to show “smoldering discontent” (Souter), droning on in a low, constant murmur.”1 Sound familiar? Look recognizable?

What I found, as I looked into this verse deeper, is that it’s not just visible or audible grumbling that we’re not supposed to do! This verse also addresses what’s going on secretly in our hearts! We know that what our hearts are full of, our mouth speaks (Luke 6:45), so this verse does end up speaking to grumbling that comes out of our mouths, yet I needed to hear this deeper meaning to keep what’s going on “behind closed doors”…what may not be given away by my behavior or words…in check, as well!

“Serve the LORD with gladness…”

Psalm 100:2 NKJV
What is “Gladness?”

Our pastor spoke on Psalm 100 this week, and it’s fitting; it’s a psalm of thanksgiving. According to this particular verse above, we’re supposed to work/serve/worship the LORD! EVERYTHING we do is to be to and for HIM…and we’re supposed to do it all WITH GLADNESS!…Strike a chord for anyone else? I’m all about serving the LORD, but do I do everything with gladness? (Insert wide-eyed, blushing emoji here!) It’s not just what we do; it’s how we do it…what heart is behind it! Over and over again throughout Scripture, we see that the heart is important to God; He wants it all, not part of it; He wants us to be willing, at the heart of our actions…and joyful.

We see in Philippians what our hidden areas aren’t supposed to contain: disgruntled attitudes or motives, while Psalm 100 shows us how to clean up those areas–according to the Biblical meaning of the word “gladness,” we’re supposed to be joyful-minded!

How Can I Be Joyful-Minded?

“He made us; we belong to Him; we are His people, the flock He shepherds.”

Psalm 100:3 NAB

The first few verses of Psalm 100 give a number of commands; serving joyful-mindedly (the meaning of “gladness”) is one of them. While this doesn’t mean that we have to be excited and happy about something tough we’re working through, we are instructed to internally search for joy and to think about what we find; then, find pleasure in those things. Maybe we experience something dark, and it seems hard to find joy in it. THAT’S where the problem lies! We aren’t instructed to find joy in the circumstance! Verse 1 of this same thanksgiving psalm instructs us to shout with joy TO THE LORD! Maybe the reason we’re not finding joy is because we’re thinking about the wrong things…the wrong person!

We’re instructed, in Psalm 100:1-3, to:

  • Squeal with joy and triumph to the LORD!
  • Serve the LORD!
  • Go before the LORD with singing!
  • Know, acknowledge, see, and declare the LORD!
WHY Should We Do These Things?

Verse 3 goes on to tell us: Because He is Creator God, Who made us! We’re His people! We belong to Him! He’s caring for, feeding, and protecting us like a shepherd does his sheep! It’s the LORD Who is our joy! He’s Whom we can find pleasure in!

Where’s My Heart?

I saw an ad for a sweatshirt that said, “I Had My Patience Tested…I’m Negative!”2 I laughed, when I read it! Unfortunately, it rings true for me too many times! I’m reminded of these Scriptures, and while the sweatshirt’s saying can totally be true for me, I don’t want it to be! I’m trying to set my focus on the LORD, find joy in Him, not grumble in my heart or mind nor make my displeasure evident! It’s hard to maintain that focus, but that’s what I’d take pleasure in!

Happy Thanksgiving, Liv friends! Let’s “shine as lights in the world by holding on to the[se] word[s] of life…”

1 “1111. gogguzó.” Bible Hub, Accessed 20 November 2022.

2 “Women’s I Had My Patience Tested I’m Negative Cat, Funny Sarcasm Casual Sweatshirt.” Lilicloth, Accessed 20 November 2022.

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