“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me… to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit… (Isaiah 61:1–3, ESV)
We live in amazing times! Have you paid attention to the incredible people around you? Have you noticed the unprecedented conveniences and luxuries before you? Have you recognized the overwhelming beauty of creation? Have you grasped how marvelously and wonderfully you were made? We have opportunities and possibilities that have never been possible before now.
But as good as it gets, it never seems good enough. There is always something about which we can complain. The lines are long. The internet is slow. The kids are messy. The weather is terrible. The ticket is expensive. The customer service is poor. The church is not meeting my needs. On and on it goes.
A few months ago, I had a friend post a complaint on his Facebook about people always complaining. I replied to ask him if he realized that he was complaining about complaining. He had not noticed what he was doing. When I pointed it out, he quickly removed his post.
Sometimes we don’t notice it. It is so ingrained in us. There is no end to the things about which we complain. If you took an inventory of the things you have complained about today, how long would that list be? If you trained a video camera on yourself for a day, you might be surprised at the negativity that you spew.
Put on Garment of Praise
What would happen if you looked to intentionally praise rather than unknowingly complain? Rather than pick out all that is wrong, start to lift up all that is right. Compliment and praise the people around you. Appreciate the conveniences and be grateful for the luxuries that you get to enjoy. Watch how your perspective changes.
And make sure that you praise God! There is a reason that we sing and proclaim the goodness of God. When we praise him, it draws us a bit closer to heaven. We are raised above the challenges we face in this world. We start to see how God is bigger than any of the obstacles we might face.
It can be challenging to put on a garment of praise when we are surrounded by negativity. Complaining tends to breed complaining. Negativity is infectious. If you have people in your life who are pulling you down, consider finding other people who will raise you up.
- Do you know a person who always complains? How do you feel about being around that person?
- How can you be more intentional in offering praise rather than complaint?
Lord, forgive my complaining spirit. I easily allow my thoughts and words to turn negative. Rather than appreciating my blessings, I become enraged by minor inconveniences. Help me to praise others, to be grateful for my blessings, and to glorify your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen!