Hebrew 10: 30, 31 “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
For many of us, our days are spent trying to rule our little kingdom. We fight and struggle. We work hard and find we gain precious little. Day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. Time passes and what do we have to show for it?
Compare ourselves to those we see in the world, and we could send out invitations and invite everyone we know to a pity party to lament all that we don’t have – and find that no one will come.
You may say, “What a depressing way to start a devotion that is meant to encourage?!”
But, you see, my friend, it is all a matter of perspective. The Psalmist Asaph wrote of this very thing in Psalm 73.
Psalm 73:3 “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
He goes on to lament his lot in life versus what he saw in the lives of those in the world.
“Look at their riches. Look at the wickedness that goes unpunished. Look at the pleasure and seemingly happy life they lead.”
It almost consumed him.
Psalm 73:16, 21, 22 “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.”
Then the moment of clarity came:
Psalm 73:17-19 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.”
Where you look; what you look at and what you set your heart upon will determine whether or not you have the peace of God and joy in your life. God tells us in his Word that comparison is fruitless and unwise:
2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Jealousy and envy are slippery demons that plague the heart of those who covet that which they do not have. Held in the heart of a saved child of God, it can begin to erode all that God set in your life to enjoy. But that’s not all…
If it abides in your heart, everything you see, feel and know is in comparison to that thing you do not or could not or should not have. It invades your idle moments. It hedges your vision and soon begins to consume your thinking.
Not only that… It starts to come out in ways that will hurt and infect those around us. We tear down those that have and paint ourselves as victims that have not. Our flippant comments to others will sow seeds of discontent, seeds of division and the fruit of which has tore apart ministries, destroyed churches and ruined lives.
Ultimately, that which God meant for good is destroyed… and it all started with a look.
Asaph repented of following his heart into this dark and dangerous place.
Psalm 73:21-24 “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”
I, too, have fallen victim to this hideous monster of jealousy and envy. I saw good men; brothers in Christ prosper in positions I felt I should have. I saw myself doing the job better than they; not making the mistakes they made and being the hero to all who could see that “I” was “THE” one for the job.
Oh, such pride that filled my heart! Such envy that clouded my vision! My fellowship with a dear brother was marred because I could only see that I was the better man. Before it began to spill out of my mouth, God smote my heart to see that He, ultimately, was the One in control.
As I came to God in tears, I poured all that vile, filthy, vitriol at His feet and begged God to release me from the bondage I was in to the jealousy, envy and pride that held me captive. I came to that brother and confessed my attitude and spirit toward him was not right and that I never wanted it to happen again and would he find it in his heart to forgive me.
He, too, was beginning to feel the animosity and deference I was portraying toward him and we had a wonderful time of confession and repentance together. Now, he is closer than a brother and we have shared many wonderful years in the ministry together.
Every one of us has to deal with the big green monster of jealousy and envy in our lives. God reveals to us through the heart of Asaph just how to get released from it’s clutches. Where we focus our attention, how we look at things and people will determine where we set our hearts.
Colossians 3:1-2 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.“