The wilderness experience in the book of Numbers was a profound learning experience to Israelites. God taught them, formed them, and worked on them for forty years with a purpose of transforming them into a nation that is distinct and set apart for his holy purposes.
But their formation process was not without struggles. One area that they struggled with was the area of attitude transformation. They needed to put off old attitudes that naturally lead to failure and slavery and put on new attitudes that lead to success and freedom.
Their experiences remain relevant for us today in our spiritual walk with God.
Christian life is a life that should lead to holistic transformation. All our human faculties should be transformed by God’s word: mind, heart, affections, will, and emotions.
Biblically, our minds and the framework of our thinking should experience Christ’s transformation just like our hearts. Briefly, Romans 12:2 exhorts us: “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”; and Philippians 2:6 “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.”
Complaining spirit Vs Thankful spirit/attitude
In Number 11, we see Israelites complaining to Moses and God concerning their present predicament.
In their complaining attitude, they regretted why they left Egypt and ironically romanticized their past experience in Egypt; “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we had in Egypt at no cost-also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost out appetite; we never see anything but this manna” (Num. 11:4-6).
Surprisingly, within a very short period of time they had totally forgotten the harsh and oppressive slavery they underwent in Egypt! Generations before them had prayed for their deliverance from the hands of Pharaoh for over 400 years. All these was now forgotten! They desired the old life rather than the new life filled with God’s presence. Complaining attitude utterly blinds one from seeing God’s goodness in the past and in the present. Such an attitude magnifies a problem and minimizes God. It delights in finding scapegoats in others and even in God whenever there is a problem.
This was not a new attitude as we read. They had complained to Moses in the Red Sea and desired death. Complaining attitude looks around and despairs. It does not look up to the One who is able to deal with the issue at hand. Instead of humbly asking God to provide their daily necessities (water and manna) they chose to complain. As a result they aroused God’s anger.
Instead of sticking to this negative attitude we need transformation of both our hearts and minds. We need to:
Develop a thankful heart– We need a heart and a spirit that is grateful in all circumstances. Because an attitude of gratitude focuses on God and not on people. A thankful heart chooses to see God at work all around us and delights in God’s presence. Complaining spirit changes nothing but a thankful attitude changes us to see things differently.
A thankful spirit acknowledges that God knows what we need and when we need it.
Instead of wasting your time complaining and worrying over your family, work, parents, children, teachers, and pastors; choose to be thankful. It will make a big difference in your life. It will make you see God at work in us and around us.
Finally, remember God desires that we develop right attitudes in life. Attitudes that can make us effective and productive in our walk with him. One of them is a thankful spirit.