Tag Archives: jealousy

Feb 28 – Dear God, Waa, Waa, Waa

Numbers 11-13

Do you ever complain to God? Do you ever tell Him He’s not fair because your life isn’t like that person’s down the street? Or you wish you had a husband like Suzie’s? Or that you deserve that promotion at work?

Be careful, dear one. God just might give you what you’re crying about.

The Jews were tired of manna. Give us meat, they cried! We want meat!! They went as far as to tell God that, at least while they were still in Egypt, they had plenty of meat.

So God sent meat. Lots of meat. Quail surrounded the camp, and everyone gathered bunches. Finally, they ate their fill of meat, and had plenty leftovers besides.

But the meat they demanded from the LORD ended up making many of them sick. Some died as a result.

Has anyone ever told you to be careful what you wish for? I’d go a step further and say, be careful what you’re complaining to God about.

You might not know that the guy down the street who you’re so jealous of is dealing with an addiction. You might not know that Suzie’s husband, who is the kids’ soccer coach and always brings Suzie flowers, belittles and mistreats her behind closed doors. You might not realize the promotion that went to someone else, would have placed you next to a coworker who would have broken up your marriage.

I don’t think this passage in Numbers is telling us not to pray about things we’d like. God said we could make our requests known. But I think the lesson here is to be careful about making demands.

Philippians 4:6&7 says: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

You know, I think I’ll trust God to handle the details of my life.

Feb 3 – More

Exodus 13-15

My nephew was a tease. That handsome face, those big brown eyes, that infectious smile. He had a quick wit, and laughter followed him wherever he went.

I thought about Geoff today as I read these chapters in Exodus. So I want to share a story I remember hearing about this crazy kid. It went something like this:

Geoff and his cousin went to Chipotle’s for lunch. Both young men ordered a salad. When they got back to the table, Geoff noticed that Brad had more meat on his plate than he did. So, with a twinkle in his eye, Geoff went back to the counter to “complain.”

“My cousin got more meat than me,” he pouted. The server giggled, and put another scoop on his plate.

“More,” he whispered. She added a bit more.

“More,” he said a little louder, and a little more intense. She obliged.

Now, according to what I remember of this story, the servers and customers were laughing at Geoff’s silliness. That’s all the encouragement he needed.

“More,” he said again, this time through clenched teeth like an addict demanding a fix. The server shook her head and finally said no.

So as I was reading in Exodus this morning, the word “more” came to mind (and I always think of Geoff when I hear that word)

God had just delivered Israel from Egypt in a dramatic way. I mean, come on. The Red Sea parted and they walked across on dry land. Then to top it off, the Egyptians drowned trying to do the same thing. God’s salvation was provided for believers only!

Then three short days later, the Israelites were complaining about not having water. “More miracles,” they seemed to demand.

God did provide water. But it certainly wasn’t because the Jews were growling. God provided water because that’s who He is!

And it makes me wonder, when is enough enough? I am blessed way beyond what I deserve. Yet are there times I fall into the trap of complaining, of pouting like a  child, if I don’t get exactly what I want or think I deserve. Do I accept what Jesus did for me on the cross, then turn around and demand God heal me, too? Do I pout about the struggle to pay bills, and ignore the fact that God has provided an eternal home for me way above my station in life?

Reading this today, I want to be thankful for everything the Lord has given me. I want to be satisfied with the way He has blessed me. I never want to seem ungrateful or be jealous of what someone else seems to have.

I have Jesus. And I trust Him to provide for me as only He can.

Lord, help me to be thankful. I don’t need more. I just need You. Help me to trust you with today, with the cares of this world. Move me to action when there are things I need to do. And may my life be an example of how good it can be when a life is placed in Your hands.

 

 

Living Hell

Sometimes it’s hard to look at the success of ungodly people and not be a little jealous. You struggle to pay your bills but your neighbor who cheats on his wife gets a promotion and buys the boat you’ve been dreaming about. You see public figures in million dollar homes who openly defy God’s laws and speak against Christians. You find yourself wondering how that can be fair when many of God’s people are hurting.

Years ago I was sitting in the living room of a man who was sharing his long list of woes with our EE team. He was fighting a couple of serious diseases, had been abandoned by his family, lost his job and insurance, and said that he figured he was living as close to hell as he’d ever be. Our EE leader reached over, touched his arm, and gently replied that without Christ his life, as awful as it is, would be the closest thing to heaven he would ever experience.

This life is not all there is. Eternity follows. And we are reminded in Proverbs 24:19-20 that evil people have no future. People who reject the Lord have no hope. Their eternity will consist of unimaginable anguish, regret, loneliness, sorrow. They will realize what their choice to exclude God from their lives truly means – for ever.

So don’t fall for Satan’s trick to get your eyes off the prize. If you are jealous of the success of ungodly people you are looking in the wrong direction.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in his wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

Forgiven

If anyone had a right to be angry at Jacob it was Esau. After all, Jacob had stolen Esau’s position as the first-born son. Jacob received the blessing from Isaac that should have been Esau’s. Now after twenty years, here come Jacob once again.

But we read one of the sweetest reunions recorded in the Bible in Genesis 33. These two brothers embrace, then part on the best of terms. Why? Because Esau had forgiven Jacob. Esau hadn’t lived all those years harboring hatred or anger or resentment. He refused to carry a grudge and the result was the ability to welcome his brother home.

If you think Jacob didn’t deserve it, you are right. If you think Jacob should have had to face the consequences for his actions, you are right again. But that’s not what happened.

And it’s not what happened with me, either. I’ve sinned against God. I’ve done disgusting, vile things that hurt and angered him. I deserve God’s wrath. I deserve to face the consequences for my sin. But that’s not what happened.

I went to God and, instead of receiving punishment I was offered grace. Instead of condemnation, I was forgiven. I don’t stand before my Holy God vile and filthy as my actions warrant. I stand before him wearing the righteousness and holiness of his Son, Jesus. 

I trust you can say the same.

God is reminding me that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven. People do stupid things, mean things, commit thoughtless actions that hurt and anger us. Sometimes people commit disgusting, vile acts toward one another. They lie. The treat us unfairly. (I know I’m guilty, too). And I have to remind myself that God has forgiven me a boatload of sin. He’s asking me to forgive those who have sinned against me, too.

I was thinking about Esau’s family this morning as I was reflecting on this Scripture. If Esau had  allowed anger and jealousy to build up over the years, we might be reading about a war here today. Instead of greeting Jacob with a hug, he might have greeted him with 400 warriors armed for battle. There would have been blood-shed. There would have been destruction. Maybe Esau’s family would have been a casualty. But because Esau was able to forgive, his family enjoyed peace as well.

If you are harboring hatred, anger, jealousy, bitterness, and have refused forgiveness to one who has wronged you, I pray that you will rethink that. Turn it over to the Lord. Ask him to help you forgive and he will. Remember that an unforgiving spirit is a cancer that is eating at you and destroying you. Let it go. And think about your family, those precious people you hold dear. They are affected by your bitterness, too. Don’t they deserve better?

Holy God, I thank you for forgiveness. I know that I have been forgiven a multitude of sin. And I’m asking that you’ll help me to forgive as I’ve been forgiven. May I lay all the bitterness and anger at your feet and walk away from it. May I know the joy and peace that comes from forgiving those I feel have wronged me. And may my loved ones recognize a forgiving spirit in me and realize it comes from you, my Savior and Lord.

June 21

2 Kings 9:1-37, 10:1-27, 11:1-3; 2 Chronicles 22:7-12

What do you have to do with peace? Joram asked that question of the men sent to find out what were his intentions. Then, when King Ahaziah came to Joram and asked if Joram came in peace, Joram replied: How can there be peace as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?

Are you restless or anxious today? Or do you enjoy peace in your soul? Joram would tell us that there can be no real peace as long as we entertain sin in our lives. As you read this today did God bring to mind an unconfessed sin? Can you identify an idol in your life that has taken your focus from God? Do you harbor jealousy or anger toward someone?

You cannot hope to have peace if you are holding on to sin.

I pray for peace in your life today. May God convict your heart, dear restless soul. May you confess and repent and may you know the peace that passes all understanding. May you know that sweet peace that comes from a pure heart made clean by Jesus’ blood.

June 3

Proverbs 22:1-24:22

Have you ever been bitten by the green-eyed monster? You see your neighbor, who is vocal about his dislike for Christians, drive up in his new luxury car while you are praying you can coax one more year out of your 2000 SUV. Or that guy at work keeps getting promoted and you know he spends his weekends in a bottle and you catch him lying to the bosses. Here you are, working like crazy, living a life set apart to honor God and you keep getting overlooked when promotions are given. 

Proverbs 23:17-18 says: Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

You know that “do not envy” is another of God’s top ten commandments, don’t you? There is a reason for that. Envy, like any sin, eats away at our joy, our peace and contentment. It causes us to doubt God and drives a wedge between us and the Lord. The more we feed it, the bigger and more destructive it gets. 

Remember that everything that happens in this life is intended to draw all people to God. He is not willing that that neighbor or co-worker should perish and we don’t know what God is using in their lives to draw them to himself. It might be that car or that promotion. 

Is God opening a door for you to talk with your neighbor about his new car? Does God want your neighbor to see Jesus in you? Does God want to use you to represent him in your workplace whether or not you get a promotion? If we allow jealousy to enter our lives we cannot do what God wants us to, intends for us to do.

Father God, it’s kind of hard sometimes to watch a sinful world get ahead while we who follow you struggle. It’s tempting to want what they have, to join in their fun, or cut corners to get ahead. God help us who love you to be zealous for the fear of the Lord. To be the people you intend for us to be, to allow you to use us to reveal you to our world, and to be thankful for the privilege no matter what our circumstance. Our future, our hope is in you.

January 27

Genesis 36-39

I find it interesting that Joseph’s brothers sat down to dinner after they threw their brother into the cistern. They had allowed their jealousy to grow to the point of hate. Did they hear Joseph calling to them? Were they aware of his tears? How could they just sit there and pretend nothing was wrong? Were their hearts so hard?

Did they watch Joseph struggle as he was being dragged into captivity? Not one of the ten brothers came to Joseph’s rescue.

Once again God has allowed us to see what hate can do when left to fester. In this case, hating Joseph made it seemingly easy to get rid of him and plan an elaborate lie to cover their tracks. Life went on as normal as they ate their meal.

But I wonder how often they were awakened at night by the sounds of their brother crying out to them. I wonder if the grief in their dad’s eyes meant anything to them.

Lord, help me recognize those feelings in me that could become destructive. And may I refuse to allow those feelings to take root. Give me a sensitive heart and may I be quick to come to you at the first sign of trouble.