Stress, Grumbling and Holiness





“…BE EVEN MORE CAREFUL to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him.” 
Philippians 2:12b (Living Bible)



GO, do good things.
STOP, shrink back.

BASIC ASSUMPTION:  an active relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ (otherwise the rest of this blog is a futile read)

STIFLE the Holy Spirit = when He says, “Yes.” But I say “No!”                   (I don’t trust God)

GRIEVE the Holy Spirit = when He says, “No!” But I say “Yes.”                (my will, not His)

(credit: Pastor Dave Buehring)



GOD REVEALS His mysteries to those who seek Him. If He’s the force that “works in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases Him,” verse 13 

then it follows that … 

HE MUST HAVE built in to us a way to sense whether I’m on the right or wrong path. My salvation was costly, and  I DO NOT WANT to grieve or stifle the Holy Spirit who’s laboring 24/7 to bring to completion that work God started.


“PEOPLE FULL OF LIGHT cannot afford to fit in or conform to the norm amid a crooked and perverse culture and, in doing that, expect to have a positive, eternal impact.

Without holiness, people will not see God Hebrews 12:14. STUMBLING BLOCK


HOLY LIVING is choosing to operate outside of the workings of:

  • the warped cultural box
  • the spiraling economic box
  • the defunct political box
  • the stifling traditions box
  • and even outside the workings of an imprisoning religious box

Holiness is relationship based, as in, it’s about Who we know.


What I’m doing about it

APPLICATION 1: The Sealed Lips
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” vv. 14-15 (NASB)

  • DO I hear myself grumbling?
  • DO MY friends tell me to stop disputing everything?
  • AM I covering it with a band-aid of ‘trying to do better.’

OR AM I PRESSING in to God and asking Him to reveal the root cause of my negative attitude. He is faithful to answer and to pull up the root at my request. He’s got better stuff to take its place.


APPLICATION 2: The Stress Collar
“…Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Phil 4:6-7

WHEN stress rises:

  • I’LL STOP, and maybe shrink back
  • “BE QUICK to listen (to the Holy Spirit), slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
  • GOD NEVER operates through stress. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
  • STRESS is self-induced by our choices, by those decisions we make about what to do, when, and how.
  • GOOD THINGS can cause stress if Holy Spirit has said, “No, not yet. Wait.” or “Stop. I have something better.”

USE STRESS like a human ‘invisible fence dog collar,’ if you feel stress, assume you might have neared or stepped over the boundaries of Papa God’s healthy boundaries for prosperous living.


God’s desire: to “complete” the work He started in you.

An Exhortation from the Embattled Spirit

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2 Responses to “Stress, Grumbling and Holiness”

  1. Ken Cooper says:

    Thanks for letting His light bubble effortlessly out of your inmost being…it is quite contagious…and healing! You are a blessing.

  2. J.A. Marx says:

    Thanks Dr. Cooper, and thanks for dropping by. 🙂

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