Jealousy . . . or Jesus?
Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
In one of his books, Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, retired Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, retells an ancient Greek legend of a major foot race between two competitive young athletes. As in all sports contests, there is a winner and a loser—and the loser of this one was devastated. He had trained long and hard, believing himself to be the superior of the two runners. His memory became haunted by the face of his opponent and the man's adoring fans.
Moved by the victory, the city erected a statue in the winner's honor. The losing athlete was consumed with envy, both physically and emotionally; he could think of nothing but his defeat and his opponent's new-found prestige. Ultimately, he reached the decision to destroy the statue that plagued him with the daily reminder of lost glory; a plan began to take form in his mind.
Late each night, when the city square was empty, the youth went to the statue and chiseled away at the base, hoping to weaken the foundation enough to make it eventually topple. While chipping at the sculpture with especially violent envy one night, he misjudged his efforts. The heavy statue teetered on its already fragile base, crashing to the ground. The disgruntled athlete was crushed beneath the weight of the marble replica of his nemesis, literally destroyed by his own jealousy.
Obviously, the moral of this story lies in the fact that this man had been dying long before the statue fell on him. Inch by inch, blow by blow of the chisel, he had become the victim of his own dissatisfaction.
How many Christians have you known who were overcome with bitterness? It chips away at a believer's life, destroying the spirit and corrupting the heart.
Hebrews 12:15 warns, "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." The Scripture is clear—a Christian is to overcome his feelings of bitterness lest he become overtaken by them, for to be defiled is to be destroyed . . . and bitterness has the power to do both.
In addition, bitterness resulting from jealousy is the complete opposite of putting on Christ—as you would put on clothing, your attire should be "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control," as described in Galatians 5:21-23.
Since you can't wear both, which outfit will you choose to wear—jealousy . . . or Jesus?
Prayer Point: Are you struggling with bitterness toward someone? Is your spirit being eroded by the slow chipping away of jealousy's chisel? Pray that God will reveal to you any hidden malice in your heart toward others; ask Him to replace it with a spirit of gentleness and kindness.
Extra Refreshment: Read 1 Samuel 13—a story of jealousy and its consequences.
We are all different people. We have different tastes, hobbies, ambitions, and convictions. Our diversity is seen from the food we eat to the places we vacation. But in the midst of all this diversity, there are a few tendencies we share in common that hinder our spiritual growth and vitality. In this eye-opening look at Paul’s exhortation to Philippian believers, Stephen exposes these tendencies and teaches us how to overcome them.
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