“Did you see those shoes she had on?”
“Yeah, they’re really cute!”
“Isn’t that the same pair you tried on just the other day?”
“Yeah – yeah they are. I didn’t have the money to get them.”
And the GPS in our head says “In 200 feet turn left onto Envy Street.”
I have found myself in a very unlikeable place recently. There are some things I really want to do, things that I truly believe God is leading me into and it’s been taking a while to come to fruition. I don’t expect things to just fall into place and happen overnight, but a little something here and there to let me know I’m on the right track wouldn’t hurt. Yes, I’m trusting God and waiting on Him. Unfortunately, it would appear that this green slime has been seeping in through the cracks and I guess I just turned a blind eye to it. Have you seen the commercial on TV where the house is flooding and the man just sits in his chair reading his newspaper seemingly oblivious to the fact the water is rising? Yeah, well that would’ve been me recently, except instead of flood waters it’s been green yucky slime. But then something happened!!
I went to my daughter and son-in-law’s church last Sunday night (really enjoy hearing him preach); however, his uncle was preaching instead – which is all good because I enjoy hearing him as well, but little did I know that I was there for more than just a visit. He preached on how Satan knows our weak spots and how he can subtly slide right in and start pushing our buttons, reminding us of our past, or tempting us to go back to our old way of life, or whatever that weakness might be. He demonstrated his point in a very effective way; as a matter of fact it took me a few seconds to realize what he was doing. He sat down beside a lady on the front row, kind of like what I would call “buddying up” to her and said in a low voice something to the effect of “You know, we used to go out and . . .” at which point the lady pushed him away. He jumped up and said “That’s what you’ve got to do when the devil comes at you.” (These aren’t verbatim quotes, but you get the idea.) I was thinking wow, that’s a really good illustration. The service ended, I hung around and talked a little and came home . . . and then I got on Facebook. If I could insert emoticons here, there would be a whole line of them. I saw where a lady who had just started coming to my church had listed on her page some of the things she was doing and they all included everything – everything – I wanted to be doing. Not only that, I saw where another lady in our church was also doing a couple of them. (Sorry for my vagueness on what the things are, but they need to remain undisclosed right now.) Unfortunately my reaction to this news wasn’t the best. I’m telling you I got mad. (Did you see someone slip in and side down beside me, because I sure didn’t?) Then one thought led to another and before long I was mad at just about everybody on Facebook that was doing anything even remotely similar to what I wanted to be doing. Unfortunately this wasn’t short-lived because I let the devil follow me around the whole next day. I mean I was mad at the whole world.
Well, Monday evening it hit me. Not only had I not pushed the devil away, but I’d let him tag along all day long. And what’s even worse, my eyes were open to the real source of the problem here – jealousy and envy – and it wasn’t a pretty sight. I couldn’t believe how my feelings were based on such selfishness. Instead of thinking “Hey, that’s pretty cool. I need to connect with them. They may be able to give me some pointers,” I was envious. I should’ve been glad that God was using them and be supportive of their ministries, but instead all I could see was what they were doing and what I wasn’t doing. Then the thought hit me that just about knocked my feet out from underneath me – How can God use me in the ministry He has for me if I can’t be supportive and happy for others and their success and the work they’re doing for the Lord. And yet another thought came – I’d been in a “mopey” kind of mood for a few weeks and was trying to figure out where my joy had gone, and I thought no wonder; there’s no joy in having such a self-centered attitude. It was right then and there I said no, this is not the person I want to be. I don’t want my world to revolve around little ole me. I don’t want to be wallowing around in self-pity and throwing pity parties every time I see how someone else is succeeding, no matter in what area of their life it may be in.
I was reading some scriptures on jealous and envy, and they keep company with some pretty bad dudes. Galatians 5:19-20 says “Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkeness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Amplified) (Italics mine). Yes, I know that this is a flesh thing too, but I think there are times when the enemy and our flesh join hands and come in like a flood.
The last part of this chapter in Galatians talks about being led by either the Holy Spirit or by our own desires. Verses 22 through 23 tell us what the work of the Holy Spirit within us accomplishes: “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].” (Amplified)
To take it a step further, verse 24 says “And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.” (Amplified) Many times our flesh will rear its old ugly head and resist the leading of the Holy Spirit, but if we stay attuned to the Spirit and follow His lead, we can very quickly put our flesh in its place – and the devil. Verses 25 and 26 put it very plainly – “If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.” (Amplified)
Let me tell you what else jealousy does. It shows an ungrateful attitude towards God. Often times while we’re having our pity party we turn our focus on God and start questioning – “Well, so-and-so has this or they’ve done that and I’m sitting here with nothing!” Friend, shaking your finger in the face of God is a dangerous place to be. When we have envy and jealousy in our heart, we have a tendency to look everywhere but inward – focusing on others and questioning God. It may be that God is preparing you for what He has for you to do. We may need to do some housecleaning and some mind-cleaning. We may need to get rid of the muck that has us stuck so we can move forward. If you can look around you or look back in your life and see one thing God has blessed you with, you should be grateful. My guess is you’re going to find a whole lot more than one – a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food on the table – and that’s just a start. Our focus needs to change from what we don’t have to what we do have. We also need to look inward and see if a transformation needs to take place.
So if you seem to have lost your joy and can’t seem to get out of the muck, look behind you and see who might be tagging along. Look inward and see who’s in control – the Holy Spirit or your flesh. I encourage you to kick your “pity-party buddies” out the door and shut that thing down. Get before the Lord and repent. He’s ready to forgive and help get you moving in the right direction.
Father God, I repent of jealousy and envy. I ask You to forgive me and wash me anew. Open my eyes to the work You’re doing in me. I submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and crucify my flesh. I do thank You for all that You have blessed me with – from the smallest to the greatest. Thank you for loving me and leading me. In Jesus name, Amen!