We cannot give way to the spirit of complaining and criticism in the church, not only do they disrupt, and threaten the vision of the church, but they encourage rebellion against God's established authority (The Pastor and leaders in their respective positions), and submission to these spirits open the door for much more evil.
First off, let's get out the way that complaining and disputing are indeed spirits! The Bible declares in Ephesians 6:2 that we don't conflict with flesh and blood but with powers, principalities, dark forces and spiritual wickedness in high places. Further, the Bible tells us that he who sows discord, is an abomination unto the Lord (Proverbs 6:17-19). Therefore, let's call these things what they are, while recognizing that complaining (not the same as venting or expressing rightful concern or an issue) is a SIN, and the spirits can take up root in your life and mine when we constantly choose to complain.
Stop complaining about your pastor, bishop, evangelist, deacon, and ushers to others. Are you praying for them? What is the purpose of this internal or voiced complaint? You see beloved, your complaint doesn't have to be voiced to offend God, it can be made right in your heart in "secret." You can have the action of submission to God's established authority in the church, but your attitude still be standing tall in pride.
If your concern is genuine, where are you taking it? Are you taking your concern about the state of the church to the authority and praying about it while at home? Or are you talking with other lay members creating gossip that attacks the wisdom, discernment and character of the leaders? Let's be real about this thing!
I read something so powerful this past week, when God appointed and purposed the pastor, He knew all of that pastor's faults. He knew the pastor still had maturing to do, and what areas he or she would mess up in, and yet GOD STILL CALLED, CHOSE AND APPOINTED THEM ANYWAY! Are you praying? I know we expect our pastor's to be blameless, but even when they aren't out there being scandalous, you are finding fault in the way they speak, dress, handle their house, conduct the service etc. If you have such a problem finding contentment in that particular house of God's, then why haven't you left yet?
Listen beloved, I'm preaching to myself first. Correction upward is rebellion, and there is a Biblical way to sort out a dispute with a fellow believer. So when you find yourself, complaining about the praise team, complaining about the pastor, complaining about the order of the service, complaining about the building, and you KNOW you don't offer any of your talents or resourced to be used, the problem is you! Maybe God is trying to mature you and you need to move through this refinement period graciously, before your heart is hardened.
Complaining is poisonous! It brings not only more contention and confusion but it invites rebellion that can cost others greatly. Look with me to Numbers 13 & 14. In chapter 13, God tells Moses to send out leaders from each tribe to go and get a preview of the Promise Land and bring back a report. We know that God promised them a land of milk and honey, this what nine of them came back to report:
“But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:31-33
Complaining begets complaining. By Numbers 14:2, all of the Israelites were complaining and confused, “And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness...” All of the spies except Joshua and Caleb complained about the condition of the land God promised them, and therefore, the children of Israel began to regret God’s deliverance and the obedient steps they had taken to get to that point. Further, they began to doubt God’s power to fulfill His Word to Abraham. What happened as a result? By the end of Chapter 14, after God pronounced judgement on them, that they would never see the Promise Land of Canaan, they went to try and seize it. Complaining bred confusion, which in turn bred irrational behavior due to mistrust in God and His appointed authority, Moses. The complaints of nine people, resulted in the rebellion and judgement of thousands. My God have mercy!
When you complain with others about your church and your leaders, you encourage them to rebel, you color their vision of the servants of God, and when they look at them, they hear your voice in their heads and hearts with that negative message. When you submit to a faultfinding spirit, it will use you to permeate the experience of immature believers (those lacking discernment) and they pass that on to others. Beloved, stop making church gossip. If you have a problem with the pastor or the way the church is ran, take it up with those who have the power to produce a change, the pastor and the leaders (after the pastor). Either speak up, repent and quiet your head and heart or leave that church.
We have to fast and pray for our church leaders, they are under a serious attack, and their titled armor bearers are not their only armor bearers, we are also. Cover your leaders in love, when people come to you to gossip about the pastor or express a grievance tell them your ears aren’t trash bins, to pray and bring it up with the Pastor should God instruct them to do so. Your heart is not a trash bin. Your ears are not trash bins, and a grievance expressed anywhere except the place it can be useful for maturity is trash (gossip).
You can’t force anyone to repent, change or mature, you are not the Holy Spirit so conviction is not your job either. In church, our jobs are to serve, and being critical taints your service. We can never forget that for God, obedience is also from the heart, and our actions must line up with our hearts. Yes, God asked you to serve by cleaning the restroom every Saturday before church, but when you grumble and complain about the people using the restroom, or the condition of the toilet, tiles etc. you aren’t serving with a pure heart as God desires. Pray for God to give you ideas on how to raise the funds to pay for the new toilet for the church, instead of being concerned that Pastor drives a new Honda Civic, or pastor’s spouse is in a new suit. Even I know where to find Gucci for 80% off retail price. Come on beloved! Check yourself, extend the grace you ought to and leave the judging to the true Judge. Begin to glorify God by thanking Him that you can help prepare the building for the people to come in and hear His Word, and find relief from the stress of the weak.
If you constantly give ideas and offer your services and your ideas are not used, don’t allow the spirit of rejection to take root in you, because it will birth complaining, and set you on a path to poison the minds of others against those who didn’t use your ideas. Maybe it wasn’t your time to be used, and if you feel you’re not being used to your full potential, don’t tear down with complaints, go fast and pray for God to order your steps. The enemy wants you to feel rejected so that you can work against God’s vision for that particular place of worship, but you be empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk in the truth that your ideas not being used doesn’t make you any less saved, and doesn’t mean there is no opportunity for you to be used elsewhere in that ministry.
When you find yourself complaining in your heart or vocally about the church, remind yourself of Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world...”
So choose to express gratitude every time you find yourself about to complain, or thinking complaining thoughts. When you’re busy being grateful, you don’t have time to swallow the poison of complaints or go around infecting others.
Grace & Peace Beloved