Skip to main content

Principle 14: Know Your Advantages

It is easy to get caught up in envy - that ugly, green-eyed monster often known as jealousy or better known as discontent.  Discontent breeds all manner of other issues, so it is best nipped in the bud than allowed to fester and multiply!  Really, in the simplest terms, envy enters in anytime we think someone else has any advantage we don't have in life.  Yep, ANY advantage! We often don't know how frequently we evaluate ourselves in the light of what we see another "have" - whether it is knowledge, privilege, or possession.  Some allow a little discontent to breed when they consider how easily someone can get into the scriptures, or launch in to a prayer for another in need.  Others allow it to fester when they see someone get cut slack where no slack would be rendered if it were them.  Regardless of how we sense this "discontent" with the what the other person seems to have or get, it can lead to a lot of ugliness in our lives we'd probably not like to deal with later on!


Don’t for a minute envy careless rebels; soak yourself in the Fear-of-God

That’s where your future lies.  Then you won’t be left with an armload of nothing. (Proverbs 23:17-18 MSG)


Discontent multiplies whenever one senses an inequity.  Let me be the first to tell you this if you haven't already figured it out - all things are NOT equal in this life!  We are all created different sizes, shapes, hair colors, skin tones, with different IQs, and into different families.  Yet, there is one place we come into which makes the "playing field" level for all - the family of God. Regardless of station in life, aptitude, or attitude - all are equal in his eyes. All are sinners.  All stand in need of a Savior.  All have fallen short of the glory he intended for their lives.  All need the sanctifying work of the cross. In short, all are equal.  No one can make another grow any faster - even when well fed and in an environment which fosters growth.  Growth is individualized and a response of one's inner man to the forces surrounding him/her.  Growth, or maturity, may not be equal because we each embrace things we are taught in different times, perhaps even in different interpretations of what is taught, but exactly from the same lesson.  This makes us unique - equally human and in need, but not equal in the application of truth.

The various things which lead to discontent in our lives is what God is after here - because he knows it makes for a lot of messy stuff later on if allowed to take root.  Discontent damages relationships, causes us to struggle with issues of pride, and then leaves us just wanting more, but believing we will never have what it is we desire.  Guard yourselves well against discontent because it will leave you destitute!  Now, is it possible for discontent to drive us closer to God and his purposes in our lives?  Yes, when it is recognized early and does not become a thing which drives us into the realms of envy and jealousy.  Envy or jealousy carries the attitude of wishing "ill will" on another. It goes beyond motivating us to search for things which will drive us deeper into our relationship with Jesus - causing us to turn inward, feel deprived, and then bemoan our deprived state.

Discontent in the hands of God can be turned into an opportunity to open your arms and heart to receive something new from God - something you may not even have known you really needed in your life, but which he knows will bring you tremendous blessing.  Discontent has a way of motivating us - but we need to make sure our motivations are God-driven and not self-driven.  For example, when I see someone take a portion of scripture and easily describe how this scripture applies to everyday living, making it sound so simple and easy to apply, I could be envious of the individual's ability to do so.  Or...if I hear what our passage says today, it could drive me to turn to God and ask him to show me the ways to study so that I become aware of what the Word of God says, how it can apply to my life, and what he would want me to "get" from the Word each day.  In time, I will see that he takes this discontent with my inability to study the Word myself as a means to begin to drive me deeper into his Word, allowing his Holy Spirit to open it afresh to me.  In this sense, discontent has an advantage in my life - it created a hunger.

We need to be aware of our hunger, though - for not all hunger is to be fed. When discontent enters, the very best thing we can do is ask God if this is him creating the desire, or our "self" getting us into the region of envy.  With this in mind, we will be sure to avoid the pitfalls of envy, but allow godly discontent to be built into a driving force which propels us forward into the good things God desires for our lives.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Gateway closed, ears open, heart ready

We can certainly hear a lot of voices today - each representing some "cause" or "purpose" we are supposed to get our lives behind. Some are reasonable and seem to catch our attention simply because what they present seems both logical and straight-forward. Other voices are not as forth-coming in their motives, oftentimes not very logical and definitely not telling you the whole story. They simply use a technique that manipulates the crowds until they have them to the place we might call "biting on the bait". Our mailboxes are inundated with this request for "charitable contribution" one right after another; get this product now; attend this seminar to get rich quick; and get these veneers put on your teeth to change the way people perceive you. Lots of voices demanding our attention, but do we recognize its source? Jesus was most concerned with the repetitive 'voices' and 'demands' our world puts out there over and over again - vo