Archives For Jealousy

sheepfence

Caution! Looking over the fence can lead to cutting your chin. A better usage of your chin is to bow it in prayer, thanksgiving at the feet of Jesus. Bowing your chin in prayer and thanksgiving acknowledges Christ as Lord. Cutting your chin on the fence revels the desire to be the center of the universe and last I checked, neither you, nor I can run the universe. The call of the Christ follower has never been to look for what we already have. We have everything. We have been rescued. We have Him.

I guess looking over the fence started in the garden. God assured Adam and Eve that He had everything in control and hadn’t missed a detail. He even gave details about the tree to leave alone. Guess what? That tree soon became their “fence.” The enemy introduced a very seductive word. That word was introduced to get them to look over the fence. That word was, “surely.” The serpent spoke, “You will not surely die.” In other words,  the lie was, “You don’t have all that you need.”

Looking over the fence is a hard one to resist. We all want answers that fit with how we think it should be or how we think it ought to be. Therefore, we often think to ourselves, the answers I’m looking for are surely on the other side of the fence. After all, I can smell the barbecue goodness coming from the other side. I can hear the laughter of plenty. They never seem to hurt or want for anything on the other side of the fence.

Life always seems better elsewhere, but it’s not.  What is out of our touch, or inaccessible, often seems of more wealth than what is present and sanctioned in our life on God’s side of the fence. It seems to be in our human nature to desire what we can’t have, and at the same time despise what we have right under our feet.

I’ve often found I start looking over the fence when I stop ministry to God. Ministering to God is the safest place to be. When I totally surrender to the beauty of sitting at His feet, the fence has no power and the voices on the other side grow strangely dim, and my soul gives way to a song.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” Psalm 23:5-6

Leave-The-Past

What is it about the past that holds so many people captive?

When I was growing up I worked in my father’s sheet metal shop, and there were all types of machinery, and tables for working with all things metal. One table had weighted magnets that would swing out over the table and hold a piece of metal down to the table once they were turned on. The metal would then be unmovable as you worked on it.

From time to time,  I would jump up on the table and try and pull a magnet to the point of breaking it free from the table. It was a strength game my bothers, and I use to play to see who was the strongest.  I was never able to break the magnets free, and neither were any of my brothers. It always remained locked in place. The only way to break it free was to cut the power off to the magnet.

Some of you today need to do the same thing and cut the power off to the past that has you in its grips. You have tried to pull your way free from the past. You have struggled really hard to be stronger than your past, but nothing seems to set you free. The only thing that will free you is to cut off the power of the past. You do that by believing God is at work in your life in the present.

We all have a past.  A past filled with memories so powerful and hurtful that to recall them brings nothing but a pain to your soul and a knot to your stomach. When we hang on to our painful past memories, we either become withdrawn and unsociable; or explosive, cranky, critical, judgmental, reactive and mean towards others.

Jan Glidewell once said, “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms to full to embrace the present.”  I love the story of Joseph in the Bible. His story is one of my favorites. I’ll try and summaries and keep it brief as I give you some background and insight into his life and choices concerning his painful past.

  • Joseph, son of Jacob, overcame a painful past.
  • He was raised in what we would call a “dysfunctional family.”
  • Sibling rivalry filled Jacob’s household.
  • Joseph’s brothers caught him, threw him into a pit, and discussed killing him.
  • One brother intervened and convinced them instead to sell Joseph as a slave In Egypt, where he became the property of Potiphar.
  • Potiphar’s wife had eyes for Joseph and made continual sexual advances.
  • He refused, she falsely charged him with attempted rape and he was imprisoned.
  • While imprisoned, Joseph made friends with a baker and a cupbearer.
  • Both promised to pull their political strings and secure Joseph’s release.
  • In time, the baker was hanged, and the cupbearer was freed, but forgot Joseph.
  • For two more years, Joseph’s remained in prison.
  • One day Pharaoh had a dream that no one, but Joseph could interpret.
  • Egypt would experience 7 years of plenty/7 years of famine.
  • As a reward Pharaoh put Joseph over all of the agricultural activity in Egypt.
  • The years of plenty came, and Joseph stored up. Seven years later the famine hit.
  • This famine was so severe that even people outside of Egypt came to get food.
  • One day, Joseph’s own brothers arrived.
  • Joseph recognized them, but his brothers didn’t recognize him.
  • Joseph sold them grain and tricked them into coming back before revealing himself.

Genesis 45:1-3

1 Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. 3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.

They were terrified. They did not know anything about Potiphar’s wife and the undeserved prison sentence. Neither did they know about the abandonment by the cupbearer. But they remembered the pit and their bartering and selling their own brother. They had every reason to be terrified

Genesis 45:4

And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

Perhaps they expected a call for the royal guards, and the punishment they deserved for the cruelty they had shown their own brother. But no retaliation comes. These brothers did not know that Joseph had made peace with his painful past. His own words indicate he had let go of any vindictive feelings he held against them. He had cut off the power to the past.

Genesis 45:5

5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

How was Joseph able to put all his painful past behind him? What was Joseph’s secret? He practiced true forgiveness. Joseph could have struck back and felt the exhilaration that comes from getting even. Instead, Joseph chose to forgive. Until you forgive, the pain of your past will continue to be felt in your present.

I chagllege you today to cut of the power to the magnet that is hold you in the past. Forgiveness is how the power switch is cut off. It is hard to forgive but possible.

1-im-nobody-gregory-letts

Nobodies seem to always want to be somebodies. It’s ingrained into us from the time we are small to make something out of our life that makes us stand out. The world even points us in the direction of being somebodies.

What if instead of over worrying and over seeking to become somebodies, we thrived in the honored call of God to serve as nobodies? God’s words have plenty of nobodies through out scripture that contributed much and even though they didn’t acquire prominence in the here, and now, they will earn notoriety in the then and there.

Often when we think of the Bible, our minds race to the giants of scripture. We think of the Apostle Paul, the disciples, John the Baptist, Moses…the list goes on and on, but I think you get the point.

Giants of scripture are everywhere. However, woven throughout the Bible and its redemptive story are names that are not as familiar to us; however, they are still people of faith and immense worth. These men and women stand in the background and have “cameo” roles, but without them the story would have no movement, substance or depth.

The key players get all the attention, but from God’s viewpoint the supporting characters are not forgotten  but rather an essential part to the story. They get no attention now, but one day they will get the attention God has always intended. In the then and there, we will hear the rest of the story.

Every person, irrespective of how insignificant humanity may think they are God considers a prominent player on the field of faith. If you are feeling like a nobody today, I ask you to smile and play your role faithfully because one day the first will be last and the last shall be first.

The Ugly Grudge Bucket

February 21, 2013 — 4 Comments

bucket

There is just something ugly about a Christ follower carrying grudges. Carrying around that proverbial bucket filled with ugly is a laborious task to keep doing. In fact, not only is it laborious,but also it grieves the heart of God. We are supposed to be people of forgiveness.

Grudges lead to nowhere good! Grudges damage everything. Grudges will hurt you from the inside out and will produce a wedge between you and your fellowship with God. Letting go of grudges and moving beyond them is the only godly option.

Letting go of grudges can prove to be difficult. Let’s face it, when you have been hurt, it is hard to let go. Fear often plays a role in us not letting go because we don’t want to ever be hurt again. Therefore, we hold on to the grudge and keep our guard up. As right as that may feel, you and I know deep down inside it’s just downright wrong.

You can only be free when you forgive. Otherwise, you are in a prison of your own creation. You are letting the grudge be your Lord instead of Jesus. Anger and frustration control you more than you know. However, you would do well to remember Ephesians 4:26-27 – And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Grudges are nothing to play with. Grudges can take you down a path you never thought you would go. You might do something you will regret forever. Turn before it’s to late and you jeopardize your reputation and the position you carry as a Christ follower.

Holding on to a grudge is not done in a vacuum. The longer you hold a grudge the more you will entice others into thinking about the person you are angry at in the same way you do, then you become the blind leading the blind.  Read with your heart the following verses and enjoy the rest of your day.

Hebrews 12:14-15 – Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.  Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

dontlike

In a perfect world, every person you know would like you. However, this is not a perfect world as of yet. You can be the kindest and most compassionate person in the world, and yet there will be people that just don’t get you. There will be people that just don’t like you at all.

Right now, I bet you can see them with your minds eye. They don’t like you and it is just driving you crazy. It doesn’t occupy all of your thought life, but it pops up from time to time, just enough to keep you just off center in your walk with Christ.

Don’t misunderstand me, there might be a legitimate reason someone doesn’t like you very much. I’ve found in my life when that happens, it’s a excellent time to take an inventory and see if there is any truth there. If I think they are correct in their opinion of me, I take it as a chance to make some changes.

On the other hand, I know that no matter what I do, everyone is not going to like me, and the reality of the matter is, not everyone is going to like you.  The other person may have a low self-image, or they might be just insecure, and something about you just draws out the worst in them. The key is to not allow what they think of you to own you, or control you, or to fill you with questions about your worth.

Deep inside you want them to like you and that okay to want, but when you try to get people to like you; it most often leads to more frustration. You must remind yourself, that you can never please everyone. The focus needs to be taken off trying to please them.

The fact is, when you try and get the other person to like you…you are waste valuable friendship time with those who do like you. I often will find myself thinking way too much about someone who I know doesn’t like me, and when that happens, I’ve learned a little secret. My secret is to stop thinking about them, and start thinking and praying righteous thoughts over a friend that does like me.

Don’t misunderstand. I also pray for those who don’t like me, but I don’t have to purse them to my own detriment.

Allow me to give you a few tips to help you navigate people that don’t like you.

1. Don’t over focus on people that don’t like you (focus on positive relationships in your life)

2. Don’t treat those who don’t like you the same way they treat you (Kind of a Jesus thing)

3. Set a positive boundary in your life (You can only control you-not them)

4. Make a list of what bothers you about the other person (Then throw it away)

5. Forgive them (It’s the greatest thing you can do for you, and for them)

Remember Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

no-swearing
First, I’ll start with a confession. There are times I use words that I shouldn’t use. There are also times that I say things about people that I shouldn’t say. I must admit, when I’m wronged or feel like I’ve been wronged, it just flat out feels good to GO OFF!

But here is the problem with going off. Ephesians 4:29a tells us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths…” That’s right my Christian friend, we just can’t go there with our mouths. When it comes to a full house cleaning, it’s hard work; but once it has been cleansed, it just feels and looks right.

Cleaning up your language is like a full house cleaning. It simply must be done. We are even told in the book of James (James 1:26) to keep a tight rein on our tongues. So, if you are like me, and have problems from time to time with your mouth throwing gossip, or unwholesome words out, (which is actually a heart issue) then here are a few things you can do.

1. Many verses in the bible give you the answer in the second part

For instance, Ephesians 4:29 (motioned earlier) says, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but in the second part, it says, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. The answer is build right into the verse. Now that leads to the next step.

2. When someone has slammed a door on your feelings, don’t cuss them

Instead, bless them. When you do, you will then see the open door God has for you. God always gives an open door to bless others. Even when they have wronged you, God has a better way.

3. Picture Jesus on the cross

It’s impossible to look at the cross and at the same time, cuss and talk careless about others. You simply can’t look up at the cross and look down on others at the same time.

4. Picture the future and then behave like it in the now

Picture when heaven and earth will come together (Rev 21). In that day, God will dwell with us, and there will be no more tears or death, or mourning, or pain. In other words, sin is forever gone and the world is as it was intended to be. With that picture in mind…live like that in the now. Don’t cause any of that kind of pain to another person. Show them the future inside of you. When you do, they will see Jesus, and that is way better than cussing and gossip.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

JealousyThe most unsightly stage to live life on is Jealousy. Jealousy is even more menacing than anger or fury. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Proverbs 27:4, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”(NIV)

Jealousy divides people, which is the opposite of what Christ followers should be doing. We are reconcilers in Christ. We have been called to walk in the ministry of reconciliation. Jealousy is an enemy and will destroy your testimony of Christ likeness.

Jealousy is not something new to the human experience. In fact, it’s been around since the very beginning. Satan used it to inspire Adam and Eve to disobey God. Cain and Abel is another excellent example. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Jealousy is nothing new and neither is its danger.

What’s in the soil of jealousy?

1. Unsuccessful outlook on your life

We want what we want now. That seems to be the default thinking of the fallen heart within us. Life has a way many times of not delivering things we want fast enough. Therefore, when someone else gets what you wanted before you get it, it gives rise to jealousy.

2. Privilege is a right

Our fallen DNA speaks an untruth constantly. In the echoes of our fallen human heart, we hear the whisper, “You have the right to anything you want.” We truly do have a predisposition toward entitlement that is extraordinarily damaging to our witness for Christ, if we let it gain control of our lives.

3. The more monster

Many live life always wanting more because they are convinced that more of this, or more of that, will make them happy. More will never complete you. Only God can complete you. It easy to look at other people and wish you had all they had. What is difficult, yet healing is to look at God and know assuredly that He is all you will ever need.

How to get a handle on jealousy

1. First, you must submit your thoughts to God.

The mind is a powerful gift, but when allowed to grow negative thoughts, and thoughts of jealousy, it can create chaos into your life. The moment this begins to take place, you can win against it, by stopping, and praying for someone to be blessed other than yourself. In fact, try praying for the person you are jealous of. (Oh Yeah!)

2. Believe God’s plan for your life again

God has a plan for you life. He is building your life. He takes away what needs to be taken away, and he allows into your life those things that you actually need. His timing is correct in your life. There is no need to compare yourself to others.

3. Blessing others will keep you free

This one is a no-brainer. Blessing others will take the focus off of you. When you bless others, you are blessing God. When you bless God, marvelous things happen inside of you soul. Test it and you will see.

4. Take an inventory

Count up all the good things in your life. You just might be surprised at all the good you actually have. The garage of your life is not that empty. You simply have more blessings than you know you do. We often lose sight of them all because we are always looking for more.

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