Tag Archives: jealousy

May 7 – I’m Quite The Bowler

2 Samuel 7, I Chronicles 17

Years ago I was having lunch with several co-workers in the teacher’s lounge of the school where we taught. One of our fellow teachers walked in a little late, and quietly sat on the couch instead of at the table with the rest of us. The look on her face told us her morning had not gone well.

The night before, I had read an article in our local newspaper about this woman’s husband bowling his second perfect game of the year. It was a nice article, and included a picture of him that took up almost half a page.

So I said, “That was a nice write-up in the paper about (John). He’s quite the bowler, isn’t he?”

She glared at me and replied, “I’M quite the bowler!” She gathered her things and abruptly left the lounge.

King David wanted to build a temple for God. It was a passionate desire. But God had other plans. He told David that another king, David’s son, would have that privilege instead.

What was David’s reaction? He was excited for his son. He gave thanks to God. He didn’t express a hint of jealousy or disappointment.

It’s really not human nature to sit back and let someone else get noticed for something you know you can do at least as well. Maybe you complete a project at work, and your boss takes the credit. Or you witness faithfully to your neighbor, only to have someone else pray with her to accept the Lord.

Maybe you sat first chair clarinet every year from eighth grade through college, only to have your dad tell you how talented your sister is. (Sorry, Kathy, for all those years of resentment. The truth is you ARE a talented woman. I am so proud of you, and love being your big sister.)

I think having David’s attitude is much more pleasing to God than mine or my co-worker’s attitudes were. Don’t waste time being jealous of anyone for any reason. Jealousy is a sin, and it keeps us from the joyful relationship God wants us to have with Him.

I’ve come to realize that the only praise I want to hear is God, seeing me wearing the righteousness of His Son, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

April 26- Pity-Party Free Zone

Psalms 73, 77-78

Sometimes we might be tempted to throw a pity party for ourselves when we see the successful, easy lifestyle of wicked, ungodly people. Most days we know how blessed we are. We can even admit we know that what we see on the surface of anyone’s life often masks heartache and pain.

But seriously, it would be nice to experience wealth on the scale of some who seem to have everything going for them. At least for a day or so. Right?

The psalmists asks if he has kept his heart pure in vain. Have I? The psalmists also reminds us that thinking those thoughts are “senseless and ignorant.” (73:22)

Read verses 25-28 of the 73rd psalm for an attitude check. Instead of throwing that pity party, let these verses be your encouragement.

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good…”

The nearness of God is really all I need, and it blesses me more than any dollar amount.

My heart is a pity-party free zone.

 

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.