Monday, March 15, 2010

Down with you, thou green-eyed fiend!

Oh, dear reader. Why is it so easy to compare oneself to other people in so many ways--spiritually, in particular?

I have seen a dark little plant growing in my heart over the past few years: an on-and-off stubbornness against rejoicing in God's work in others. Many stories I hear and things I see cause me to share praise, awe and joy with the people involved. However...

...when the plant sends out its nasty scent, my mind turns to my own inability to "do/be anything good," and it causes discouragement, despondence and spiritual jealousy. Turning my eyes toward myself is a dangerous game.

I will not pretend that my desire to do good justifies such an attitude. Jesus instructs the crowd in Matthew 6:1 to "beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them."

Also, a verse very meaningful to me in Galatians 3:2-3, as Paul speaks to the churches of, where else?, Galatia: "Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"

My jealousy indicates two things.

1. I don't acknowledge that God loves me because he created me, not because I'm useful. He wants me to live for him, not live like him for others.

2. I see spiritual growth as a reward for having done something "right." I feel that if I'm not growing, or not "experiencing" God with strong emotions, I am doing something wrong (I'm sure I've blogged about this before). Those who are "more spiritual" than me must be God's favorites, right? :p

I really want this to end. How fruitless it is to strive before others to be everything to everyone. It's an impossible--and very tiring--feat! All the while, my King promises that if I seek him first, he will add things unto me, and not temporary earthly things. They will be much better than the things I thought I wanted as my will aligns with God's.

Heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me!
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause.
As I walk from earth into eternity


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