I ducked my head and stepped into the cramped, dank room. Pausing to let my eyes adjust to the inky darkness, a hundred beady eyes glared my way.
Distrust and fear seemed to be a prerequisite for entry and I felt a still, small voice checking my motive. I took a deep breath and stepped onto the dingy floor.
I had come for one purpose and intended to exit as quickly as I had come.
Boldly, I brushed past grotesque figures as the smells of smoke and stench filled my lungs. Some held liquor, some held knives, some simply clinched their fists in hatred.
I spotted my friends in the corner and moved briskly toward them. They were coming with me out of this hellish place.
We locked eyes and they both smiled in relief. Dressed to the nines, I was pleased that they looked so fresh in spite of their musty surroundings. I motioned to the door and they quickly stood to follow.
The crowd seemed restless and I avoided eye contact as the three of us wove our way to the door. The incense in the air was oppressive and I held my breath the last several steps. I welcomed the crisp fall air as I escaped into the starry openness of the night.
I was so relieved to make our get-away, I hadn’t noticed that the door had not yet closed. Slithering out with their friends, the whole lot of evil had followed us to my car.
I had only come for Jealousy and Selfish Ambition. Now, it seemed I was taking home much, much more.
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (James 3:16).
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Isn’t it strange how we think that we can pick and choose our sins?
We feel that we can stroke the cat of jealously and yet leave the other “more dangerous” animals sleeping in the corner.
James tells us that this just isn’t so.
Selfishness, in any form, is ugly, wicked, and evil.
When we crack the door for selfishness, we’ve unwittingly invited a multitude of other devilish qualities. Our stubborn friendship with jealousy and ambition secretly invites their family members of hatred, strife, and impurity into our lives.
Have you allowed envy to infiltrate your life?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you have at least cracked the door to jealousy. And if this selfishness exists, your religion is just a covering for fleshliness.
“..those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8).
Spend some time allowing the Father to convict in regard to envy today. Ask Him to create a new spirit of freshness in your relationships.
What did He speak to you about today?
That’s my job in the ever constant battle to maintain a yard. Now I don’t always do this just after church, but yet, I do hate weeds.
All of this time in the grass gives me time to consider the need of weeding my words.
1. When I break off the top of a weed, I can know that I will see it again in the exact same place. I can either go get a tool and dig out the root system, or wait a week or so until it comes back up. Waiting necessitates a deeper dig, as now the roots are larger.
Lesson: Our speech roots to the heart. If our approach is to “keep our mouth closed”, we effectively “pull off the top” and will see those same destructive words reappear at another time. The sooner that we allow the Father to deal with the root, the smaller knife He has to use in pruning.
2. The weeds are worse along the edges of our yard. The alley weeds quickly spread into our yard, especially at the borders.
Lesson: The more friendship I have with the world, the more apt I will be to see those thoughts and attitudes reproduced in my everyday language.
3. Weeding is easier when Mark has just watered. Weeds come up cleaner when the soil is moist.
Lesson: Daily doses of the Word keeps my heart (and my tongue) free from growing wild and uprooting healthy habits.
4. Weeding is not overnight work, but takes place over time.
Lesson: Don’t be discouraged when “weedy words” get the best of you. This is a gradual process, but the hidden Spirit inside of us is growing steadily stronger as we daily surrender to Him. “Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually” (2 Samuel 3:1). As we feed His seed within us, our sin nature starves.
What is the most significant thing that the Father has revealed to you about your words?