It caught me unaware. My friend's home was large, though not ostentatious. The wooded property housed games and recreational items of all sizes. Children, grandchildren and friends naturally gravitated to her home to play and to relax. I became unhappy that I couldn't provide such entertainment at my home. The more I focused on her blessings the more unhappy I became. I was jealous.
Jealousy, that nasty emotion, begins almost as soon as we are old enough to notice pretty things. Lucy has a doll that is prettier than mine. I wish I had that one. Jimmy has dump truck and, suddenly, my tractor doesn't look so interesting. Bigger children have bigger toys. A co-worker has a bigger house. I need a bigger house. My friend has a nicer car. Mine is beginning to show its age. The neighbors have the perfect family. I am single.
We long for something that we don't have. We look at our own possessions and feel that they are not good enough. We start to feel like the under-dog - that we are at a disadvantage. It is difficult to feel content when coveting what someone else has.
Jealousy is a destructive emotion. It causes us to feel underprivileged. It alienates us from one another. It distances us from God.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." Psalm 23:1
In the psalm, God is the shepherd, we are the sheep. A shepherd cares for and protects the sheep. He provides everything they need and keeps them from wandering into places and things that could cause them harm. The sheep may see many things that look appetizing but the shepherd guards against what is poisonous or dangerous.
In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul speaks of having been both monetarily rich and very poor. He speaks of being full and of going hungry. He had learned the secret of contentment in all circumstances. He needed the Spirit. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Hebrews 13:5-6 urges the reader to rid their character of the love of money and be content with what they have, because Jesus had said, "I will never leave you, nor will I forsake you." What more could we want?
- Notice the blessings that are yours. A bed to sleep in. A roof over your head. Clothes to wear. Praise God for the comforts he has provided.
- Praise God for the sun, the blue skies, the birds, trees and flowers.
- If you can see none of these, thank God that he is always with you, to guide, to counsel, to comfort.
- Thank God that he hears you each time you cry out to him.
- Begin each morning, thanking God for a new day. The sun came up. You woke up to begin again.
- Focus your attention outward instead of inward. Thank God for the bond of the family of Christ. Begin strengthening that bond by following Romans 12:15. Celebrate with your friends and neighbors when they receive a new blessing � a new car, house, vacation. Weep with those who suffer loss.
And watch to see the truth in Paul�s statement, in Philippians 4:19, " And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."
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