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?
Seems that each time we talk, anxieties rise to the surface of our conversations. Have you noticed? So, as I’ve prayed for the both of us, Matthew 6:31-33 has returned to speak to my heart. “Do not be anxious….But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Herein lies the key to freedom from worry.
The word “kingdom” stuns me when I look at its original meaning. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says “kingdom” means “royal power, kingship, dominion, rule – not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right to rule over a kingdom“.
When I seek His right to rule over me first and foremost, I am promised that everything else will fall into place. Could it be that we are worrying about things only as they affect us? “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spent it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Are our thoughts desirous of His way of thinking and acting or only our own? When the Lord is truly our Shepherd, we shall have no wants (Psalm 23:1). Let’s pray for this state of surrender within the both of us.
There is so much going on in our heads. We are anxious about so many things. But You’ve shown us the solution. Simply turning to face You.
My friend and I begin this day giving You the right to make our decisions. Regardless of whether it is the time we spend on tasks or free time — the words that come out of our mouths and what we put into them. I ask that You take our every thought captive, underneath Your rule (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Just hoping our thoughts improve isn’t the key. We are both old enough to have tried that self-improvement program and found it useless. Please flow Your own thoughts and emotions within us. Change our desires and make them Your own. When Your people who are called by Your Name humble themselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from their selfish ways, then You are free to give us what we need and go on to heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). May we rest in Your goodness. So be it….
Photo courtesy of Tom Clark.