Monday, December 7, 2009

Love Isn't Jealous and Does Not Brag

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2 Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, But who can stand before jealousy? Proverbs 27:4

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 1 Corinthians 13:4 NASB

Jealousy is a strong, demeaning, and powerfully destructive force. I don’t want to feel or harbor that ugly emotion in any way, shape, or form. I also want to walk in wisdom so that I do not have a hand in becoming the object of someone’s jealousy. The most vivid examples in O.T. Scriptures are Joseph with his brothers and David with Saul. In both cases the people who felt that emotion and did not deal with it, wanted to kill the object of their jealousy. In Joseph’s case two factors worked together to develop the perfect storm....his father’s partiality towards him and his own unwise sharing of his dreams. With David and Saul the people attributed greater deeds to David than Saul and Saul’s ego couldn’t deal with it. There was no excuse for Joseph’s brothers or Saul’s behavior, but wisdom sees the danger and avoids walking into a trap. I am in no way suggesting that if someone is jealous of us it is our fault. I am saying that we can walk with greater insight and discernment. In the New Testament we are told that Pilate was aware that the chief priests had delivered Jesus up to be killed because of envy. Mark 15:10 Jesus was absolutely sinless and couldn’t avoid their venom. I hope these examples will help us to consider the seriousness of this subject as either the victim or the perpetrator.

I don’t think it would come as a news flash to anyone that the body of Jesus Christ needs help in learning to walk in love. We are told in John 13:35 that we will be identified as Jesus’ disciples by our love for one another. We read in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love is not jealous and love does not brag. As I have slowly and at times painfully matured in my walk with the Lord, I have learned to be very careful about what I share about “ministry opportunities.” Most of us want God to work through us and delight in sharing these opportunities with others when He does. Sometimes this is unwise and comes across as bragging. I believe we need to ask God to show us how to walk in wisdom in this. Without falling into condemnation ask Him to show you if your motivation is ever to build yourself up in eyes of others or to assure yourself of your own importance. Friends, we need to be careful and not give the enemy an opportunity.

When you find yourself reacting to anyone with feelings and thoughts of a jealous nature, turn your face up to the Father. If you can get alone, then get alone and say it out loud. “I am jealous of __________ because ________. I ask You Lord God to forgive me and according to your word cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Show me the root. Pull it up by the root Lord. I do not want to harbor this dangerous emotion.” Do this as many times and as often as necessary. Don’t let it slide. Don’t pretend it isn’t there. Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance. Pray that the person you have been jealous of will continue to grow and bear fruit for His glory. Maybe the person doesn't even know the Lord and yet they "seem" to have everything they want. Pray that they will come to know the only One who can truly satisfy.

Let’s be proactive for His sake and so "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

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