Devotional–Grievances of the Heart from The Struggle of Sanctification by S. Johnson
Impossible productivity goals and mental and emotional distress were the focus of my coworker’s grievance about the productivity standards established by the Vice President who was also the Executive Director of the Quality Department. The Quality Nurses each had a caseload of 30-35 physician’s offices consisting of weekly visits with a travel radius extending from 30-40 miles. Our contractual agreement included the working hours of 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch and no overtime.
The daily productivity standards did not include exceptions for the late arrival of physicians who missed scheduled appointments, receiving a call from the Doctors office with last-minute cancellations [and we were already sitting in their parking lots], or heavy traffic conditions. The average time for completing our work day with traveling back to the office resulted in 1 to 2 hours of unpaid time every day.
Our courageous coworker represented those of us who remained silent and won the grievance. We no longer had to return to the office if the appointment was 3 pm or later. Our travel time was included in our workday. And for missed appointments, we would drop off the hard copy of their statistical report at their office without rescheduling a face-to-face meeting. Yes, we had someone who used her knowledge and wisdom to fight against oppressive and unrealistic productivity goals.
Not all grievances end with victory, especially grievances of the heart. Although the Israelites were emancipated from Egyptian oppression, they had grievances against God. They felt that God was punitive, that His commandments were too hard to obey, and that He desired them to live unhappy lives.
Didn’t the Israelites cry out for God’s intervention? Yes, but during their enslavement, many became involved in Egyptian pagan worship which involved pagan gods, sexual immorality, and child sacrifice. They desired God to give them the freedom to serve idols, follow their own evil desires, and live without restrictions.
“For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, ‘Obey me!’ I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.'” Jeremiah 11:7-8 NLT
Fast forward to 2022, it is unthinkable of sacrificing one’s children. Yet, many of today’s Christians engage in sexual immorality. Watching lewd movies and programs, and having sex outside of marriage has become a part of their secret lifestyles. Still, watching pornography has caused many believers to become addicted to this satanic, pagan practice, and without remorse, they sacrifice their marriages and families.
One must ask, how does a believer in the Most-High God become drawn into this level of rebellion against God? Answer: They have grievances in their hearts against God.
“You must be holy because I, the LORD, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.” Leviticus 20:26
The desire to be Holy by worshiping God through diligent study of the Scriptures, praying, and living faithful, obedient lives has been replaced with living for oneself. Many are tired of the restrictions to live the righteous life required of a disciple of Christ. Bible-based churches where God’s truth is taught have few members while pastors in stadium-size churches who twist the Scriptures into prosperity messages are filled every week.
According to the Gallup poll, church attendance continues to decline.
“WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999. https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx
“But they did not obey nor incline their ear but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.” Jeremiah 17:23
Trending now: Many individuals research a church’s doctrinal beliefs until they find one that they can comply with and join based on the premise that they are doing enough for God by attending services once a week. The denial of materialism, the constraints of righteous living, Community outreach programs, and fulfillment of the Great Commission –witnessing to others are non-existent topics of weekly sermons.
“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” Jeremiah 10:23 NIV
Yet, as the number escalates of those who possess grievances against God, there is a growing number of the remnant who are witnessing, helping those in need, and living pure, sanctified lives. Our hearts belong to Jesus Christ. We have renounced worldly pleasures and are staying true to God.
Despite the Israelites’ deceitful and desperately wicked hearts, the prophet Jeremiah petitioned God for His mercy. As we progress toward the end of this earth’s history, Satan is using false prophets to distract and console those who have grievances in their hearts against God. They are blinded to the signs and fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Our earth no longer has peace! And prosperity from worldly goods is only a distraction to keep their focus away from God.
It is time for us to confess our heart’s grievances against God as we focus on our relationship with Christ. Self-denial, praying for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and continuous study of the Scriptures will give us the knowledge, strength, and courage to live righteously. Loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds is possible!
Despite Satan’s temptations, we can live victoriously as overcomers through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Get rid of your heart’s grievances by dedicating your life to God. Every day, intentionally stay close to God. Prepare for the Greatest Event. Jesus’ Second Coming is sooner than we think.
Prayer: God, we are caught up in the pleasures of the world and living as if You do not exist. We confess that our hearts are desperately wicked. Lord, please forgive us and reveal the secret sins in our lives. We desire to serve You and to live according to the plans that You have for us. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.