Saturday, January 8, 2022

Shut Up And Sing

I have often pointed out that there are two languages in the world: the language of the world and the language of the church. The language of the church is gratitude. The language of the world, however, is complaining. Time and time again the Bible, especially the New Testament, exhorts believers to be grateful for all that God has done and continues to do for His people. And time and time again, we are shown how the world is constantly complaining about one thing or another. It is easy to see the continual drip drip of complaining that the unbeliever engages in.

That being said, however, there is a real problem within the church of Christ. And that is that the language of the world, that constant complaining attitude, has filtered into the church to such an extent that it is hard to distinguish where one ends and the other one begins. All too often we hear Christians complain about their health, about their finances, about this or that perceived slight, and on it goes. Rather than taking to heart the repeated exhortations of the New Testament to not be anxious, but rather to pray, we forget prayer and instead complain about what we find ourselves incapable of influencing.

I'm sure you've heard, and may have said it yourself, the parent that tells his crying child that if he continues to carry on, he will give him something to cry about. Well, it may be that in the not too distant future God will give us something to truly complain about (although, of course, complaining even then will be sinful). It is obvious that the world, which is always hostile to the church, is becoming more and more emboldened in their hostility and disdain for the church. Not only are the governments of the world and people at large becoming more hostile to all things Christian, but even so called "Christian churches" are increasingly becoming like the world in their mad rush to "win" them over. 

Compare all this to the apostle Paul. Of course, Paul is what you would call the poster child of the suffering Christian. In 2 Corinthians 11, he catalogs a litany of persecutions and problems that he encountered in his work for Christ. The event that gives the name to this column was one of those persecutions. During his missionary trip to Philippi, he was arrested and imprisoned for casting a demon out of a girl. While in the prison, having his feet in stocks, he and his companion, Silas, begin to sing praises to God. And earthquake subsequently comes about that changes the whole trajectory of the event, as Paul and Silas are released the following morning. But the point of the whole event, though was the fact that even in such a situation, Paul and Silas were found to be singing praises to the God whom they knew had ordained the very troubles they were experiencing.  

In conclusion, what we as believers should learn from this event is the fact that we truly need to "shut up and sing." Rather than continue to complain and carry on because our TV (one of five or six) doesn't quite have the pristine and clear picture that "we deserve," or any number of other such silly issues, we should rejoice in our salvation. We should rejoice and be grateful that God has seated us in the heavenly realms with Christ. And we should rejoice that our lives and everything that takes place in them is working to bring glory to God and to help us become more like Christ. Rejoice, for your redemption draws near!



  1. And may I and all of us as a body with many members keep on reading the rest of Phil 2, striving diligently in His strength to do the "things which are Jesus Christ's", thinking of the Lord and others as we die to ourselves, not "seeking our own." V21