Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What causes quarrels and fights among you?

I see it everywhere.

In real life.
On social networks.
In the church.
In the workplace.
Unfortunately sometimes even in my own heart.

Its the same thing that has plagued Men and women for since pretty much the beginning.

Competition. Who's better than who.
Jealousy. I wish I could have what you have.
 I wish you weren't as successful as you are because your success somehow makes me feel less valued. Or loved.

Remember Abraham's wife, Sarah from the Old Testament? 
Sarah couldn't have children.
For anyone who has struggled with infertility, you can understand the deep pain that goes along with this kind of disappointment. But in these days it was compounded with the fact that people actually judged you for being barren. It was a huge disgrace and socially completely unacceptable.
So because Sarah couldn't stand the fact that her own body would not do what she most wanted it to do she hatched a plan on how she was going to remedy this.
She had a servant,whose name was Hagar.She told her husband to sleep with Hagar so she would have a son for him. 
The only thing is Sarah didn't realize that at the other end of her decision would be the heartbreak  that  would cause her even greater distress. And would eventually make a decision that affects people even today.
The very thing she wanted so desperately she ended up despising.
Her servant did have a baby with Abraham. But it did not make Sarah as happy as she had hoped. Instead she began to hate that girl who had given her husband a baby to love.
Because when she compared herself to her servant she couldn't measure up.
And the only thing that could make her feel better now is to tell that poor little girl to leave. For good. 
"Be gone" she said.
So Hagar had to leave. She ran into the desert with nothing except her son.
The result of what a competitive and Jealous spirit can lead to.
But in case we are tempted to believe this is only a female failure let's remember another story.

The story of Saul and David. 
Saul was completely irrational when it came to David. David was Saul's biggest threat because of nothing more than David mere existence.
Saul was jealous and competitive and insecure when it came time for David  and pretty much just lost his mind over the whole situation. 
Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt like you were losing your mind?
Losing your mind because you were so scared someone else would take your job or your spot light or perhaps your role you had played for years.
Maybe you knew what you were doing as you tried to squelch the praise for this new guy. You told yourself you were just bringing reality to the situation by making sure those around you knew David was imperfect..unfit for the job.
 OR perhaps you didn't even realize what you were doing because indeed you had gone mad with jealousy.

What about the disciples? 
They were walking with Jesus one day and got into this argument about Who God liked most.
 It seems a little presumptuous all that talk about who was the favorite. 
But lets be honest for a moment.
 Isn't that what happens when we judge another's walk?
We are trying subconsciously to remind God we are better than the other disciples.
Remember me God?
I would never do that.

Jealous hearts have no room left  to genuinely love others.
The One who Covets only thinks of how they can get what their friends have.
Competitive people have no time to cheer for others. Instead they are too busy thinking of how they will win. 
But There is no win for this kind of heart.

But what if we, the people of the world could rise up and applaud one another?
Not when we see her fail.
But when we see him succeed.
What if?
What if for one moment we could be the Women who cry when our female counterparts fall down.
Or the Men who stand to pass on the baton as another starts their race.
What if we could paint our own canvas with the brush we've been given instead of looking to the side at another's  work wishing it would be our own.

The book of James says it like this..
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

The only way to overcome a jealous spirit is to cheer. 
Loudly. For others. 
To give when we feel tempted to want what another has.
To bless when we want to hold back blessing.
To refrain from cursing or murdering with our tongue.

We have all been given one canvas. One brush. One life.
Let's be artists that paint the picture we were intended to paint.
And cheer with all our hearts for the ones who travel beside us. 
Let's be the ones who leave a legacy of generosity of spirit and compliments and good will.

Father, today I pray that you would do a work in this heart. Clean me of the filth and the lies that I am tempted to believe about myself and others.May I give to others as I have received from you. Today  I ask to receive all that you have for me so I can in turn bless you.