March 9 - The Bondage of a Negative Spirit


By George Flattery

Devotional Scripture: Psalm 52:2

Central Thought: God desires that we walk a life free from complaining and grumbling.

    Someone once wrote, 'The person with the discontented heart has the attitude that everything he does for God is too much, and everything God does for him is too little.” It's very difficult to be around whining, complaining, and negative people. Yet at times we all find ourselves in that position. Throughout their sojourn through the desert, the children of Israel found themselves directing their discontent at Moses and ultimately God. They complained about the miracle nourishment that was sent by God. They whined about the report of the men sent into Canaan to spy out the land. They spoke of stoning Moses and Aaron.

    The Psalmist describes this behavior vividly in Psalm 52:2: 'Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.” Our words can bring life, or our words can bring death. And more importantly, our words are an outgrowth of the inner spirit. They express the bondage that many experience from constantly looking at the negative side of life experiences.

    Journalist James Glassman declares that "a culture of complaint" has infected American society. Some Americans file complaints against food companies, seeking to hold a corporation responsible for making them fat. Others seek litigation against banks for lending them money even though they were a credit risk. There are complaints about overcrowding in schools, low paying jobs, and cheap foreign labor. The truth is that some of these complaints are unfounded or ignore offsetting blessings.

According to Glassman, we have many reasons not to complain:

  • In 1955 the ratio of students to teachers was 30 to 1. Today it is 19 to 1.
  • Adjusted for inflation, compensation has tripled since 1947, and the cost of necessities has plummeted.
  • Food in 1950 represented about one third of a family's total expenditures; today, it's one seventh.
  • The U.S. Gross Domestic Product is more than the total of the next five countries on the list.
  • The current U.S. unemployment rate of 5.7% is lower than the average rate over the last 30 years and lower than most countries, including industrialized countries.
  • Americans work fewer hours, have more cars, enjoy more cultural institutions, and send more children to college than ever before.


    Remember when Jesus served His disciples communion the night He was taken away? Knowing that His hour had come, He took the bread and the cup, and He gave thanks. He gave thanks. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances we can choose to give thanks. It comes down to a choice.

    Will I choose to speak words of gratefulness and gratitude? Or will I choose to speak words of complaint and dissatisfaction? Let's not forget that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Let's remember that we are to rejoice 'in” all things—not 'for” all things, but 'in” all things. God is in control.

Devotional Prayer: Father, help me to live a grateful life, free from the bondage of a complaining spirit.

Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 11:24-13:33; Mark 14:22-52; Psalm 52:1-9; Proverbs 11:1-3