Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Cor. 10:10
Recently, someone failed to deliver on a promise he had made to me. The worst part of it was that he began giving excuses and, listening to him speak, it appeared to me as if he did not care that it was going to affect me adversely.
As I sat there listening to him, I could feel my heart beginning to turn black. But, just as quickly, something spoke to my heart. It went, “What is important to you? Is it for the man to deliver, or is it for you to maintain a clean heart?”
The answer was as clear as day. Nothing could come close in importance to me keeping a pure heart.
At that very moment, I felt the biggest burden ever lifting from off my shoulders. I thought, I can forgive and let go; and I did so immediately. In fact, I spoke so peaceably to the man I could see the surprise written all over his face.
At about the same time, someone showed me a clip of some Arabs, purportedly Libyans, beating to death a young black man, supposedly an immigrant. They had stripped him down to his pants, bound his hands and feet with tape, and sealed up his mouth completely with the same. They had locked him in a room and were beating him with what appeared to be a baseball bat. They beat him until every bone in his body was broken. Someone grabbed him by the back of his head and stabbed him repeatedly in the back with a large knife, and soon the boy was swimming in his own blood as he struggled for his life. Finally, as they went on bashing, he gave up the struggle. I had to steel myself to watch the video to the horrible end.
Again, I felt the old anger and hatred rising up in me. But, again, just as quickly, something spoke to my heart: “Watch out!” It was telling me to watch out for the purity of my heart. In my heart I immediately cried out to God; and just as quickly I felt the anger and hatred seeping away.
I am not blowing my trumpet and, indeed, the victories in my life are not always so forthcoming. But I rejoiced greatly when I saw clearly my responsibity in these two cases, and the grace of God that was so easily accessible to me.
Most of us don’t realize how important it is to watch over our hearts. But the Bible in Proverbs 4:23 tells us that watching over the purity of our hearts is the most important exercise that we can engage in here on earth.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Notice, “with all diligence”. The Swahili Bible reads, “Guard your heart above all the things that you guard…”
Murmuring means grumbling, complaining; and it prevents us from keeping a pure heart. Ultimately, it destroys us. In fact, murmuring can be considered the silent killer of the spirit. It is so subtle and muted we often are not aware of its existence in our lives.
Much of the time, of course, we murmur because we feel we have been robbed of our rights. But that is what the gospel is all about. In fact, the gospel is more about us gladly giving up our rights rather than just waiting to have them grabbed from us. It is about rejoicing in persecution (Mat. 5:11-12). As children of God, we must pay the price to maintain a pure heart at every occasion and at all costs. And this state of affairs can only be achieved by the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ in our lives.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14:
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
And, in Galatians 2:20 he writes:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Paul’s faith was revealed in his dying to self.
Let us not murmur. However great the injustice, let us not murmur. Let us learn to rejoice and give thanks to God in every situation. Notice the Bible says that, when they murmured, the Israelites were given over to the Destroyer. Murmuring will destroy us; it will destroy our souls. Instead, let us learn to take every injustice with patience, for injustice is God’s way of testing our faith. We are to be men and women whose lives are ever full of love, forgiveness, joy and peace.
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom. 14:17)
[And now, for your listening pleasure…]