What are We Looking at?

Road through the Scottish highlandsHolly and I will have interesting conversations when we are driving somewhere, especially if it is a place that we have both driven to before.  I’ll see something interesting and say, hey, did you see that?  And Holly will always, without fail, say no, I was looking at the road.  What are you looking at?

I always joke that I survey the entire field of vision while I’m driving and she looks at just the road. And honestly, I think we know who is probably both right and safer!

But what we are looking at so often determines where we are going and where we will wind up.  What we are looking at is so very, very, very important.  Listen to what happens today in 1 Samuel 18: 6-9:

6 As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.  7 And the women sang to one another as they made merry,

“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”

8 Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day on.

What is Saul looking at?  He’s looking at David. And what happens?  He gets incredibly jealous.  He was already jealous of David, but it gets worse and worse and worse.  The more he looked at David, the more jealous he became.  The more that he wanted to destroy David.  The more that he wanted to preserve his kingdom and his power.  The more that he was led down the road of his own destruction.

So is it for me and your today. What are we looking at?  Are we looking first to our faith, to our God, to our Saviour?  Or are we looking at others?  At what they have?  Their success?  Their stuff?

What are we looking at?

If we are looking to others first, we will never be happy and content.  Never.  We will never, ever, ever be happy.

If we look to God first, we will find our purpose and life in Him. And we will find that happiness and contentment, because we will find ourselves in Him.  That’s where life is found.  Not in ourselves, not in others, but in God.

What we are looking at determines so very much in life. Today, what are we looking at?

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Hey Jealousy

shutterstock_68326738One of the things that can really trip us up in life is jealousy.  That can be a very, very dangerous thing.  And we are all prone to it.  It can have material elements – oh they have that, I want that!

It can have elements of money.  It can have elements of relationships – we can be jealous of others families, or friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, whatever.  We can be jealous of other’s jobs, or success or reputation, or a million different things that can plague us with jealousy.

We can be jealous of spiritual things.  Churches. Ministry.  Gifts.  Lots of things.  Today, in  Numbers 11: 28-30, we see Moses be tempted with jealousy:

Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Moses was the prophet for the people at this time, he was the one that the Lord spoke through.  Now here are these others, that are beginning to prophecy and Joshua gets jealousy for him.  He says, make them stop, that’s your job.  You’re the prophet not them!  It’s not right, you are the one that God speaks through.

Joshua loved Moses and respected Moses and was jealous for him.  We can all understand that.  But Moses didn’t play along in that same way.  Moses understood.

What mattered wasn’t him or his pride, it was God being at work.  So Moses, instead of getting jealous, focused upon how great it would be if all God’s people had that gift.

He wasn’t worried about himself, he was worried about what God could in people and through people.

Jealousy isn’t just about earthy things it can also be about spiritual things.  We as believers can be jealous of others.  We as preachers can be jealous of other preachers.  We as churches can be jealous of other churches.

You want to battle jealousy in your life?  Take the focus off  yourself, and place it upon God.  When we are looking at others and comparing them to ourselves, we will always be lacking or jealous. When we focus on God and what He wants, we see that I have what I have for purpose and so do you.

And I’m not going to worry about me, or you, or any of this. I’m going to focus on God.  And He’ll take care of us.

The key to jealousy is our focus.  Where is our focus today?

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Paul is the man.  He was faithful.  Seriously, he started tons of churches.  I jokingly say that he wrote half the New Testament (he did write a large part of it!).  If anyone in the Bible served God to the fullest, we see that Paul did.

And we see another thing from scripture.  Paul suffered.  Paul went through a lot. It was never easy for Paul.  He suffered abuse, he suffered rejection, he suffered so very much for the sake of the gospel.

And, for many of us in our human skin, Paul had  to face the temptation for what may be the hardest thing for us to deal with as humans, jealousy

Listen to what he says in Philippians 1:15-18:

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

eggsPaul said, some folks preach for the right reasons.  Some for the wrong.  That doesn’t matter, what matters is that Jesus is preached.  And now, it would be very easy for Paul to get jealous of those that are preaching for the wrong reason.

Perhaps get a little righteous.  Perhaps get a little angry.  Perhaps get a little jealous.

After all, here he is, doing it the right way.  Doing it right. Living right.  Doing right.  Making sure everything is done the way that God wants.

And there they are, not caring. Doing it wrong!  That’s not right!  It would be very easy to get jealous or judgmental.

And as long as they are the focus, that will happen.  When Jesus it the focus, it’s all ok. Because then He will be glorified and proclaimed, in all things.

And that was Paul’s purpose and point. And that’s what he lived for.  He kept his focus on the right thing.

How do you fight against jealousy?  Keep your focus on the right thing.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

How Envy and Jealousy Hurt Us

There’s an old goofy saying that I’m sure you’ve heard before – he who dies with the most toys wins.

And of course you’ve probably heard the come back – he who dies with the most toys still dies.

Life is not about the accumulation of stuff. We can have all the stuff that we could ever want, but if we don’t have what truly matters, then what have we really gained at all.

Listen to how Jesus puts it today in Luke 12: 13-15:

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Take care. Be on guard against covetousness. Be on guard against jealously. Against envy. Why? Why should we?

Here’s why. Here’s how envy and jealously hurt us.

First, they put us down. They make us feel like we are a failure unless we have whatever it is that “they” have. Unless we have their stuff, their status, their power, their position, their “whatever” we are worthless and a failure.

Second, they hurt our walk with others. Because I can’t be happy for God’s blessings in their lives, we are jealous about what they have and why we don’t have them. We aren’t loving our neighbor. We hold things against them. We don’t love them. We want what they have. That’s not healthy for relationships.

And last they take our eyes off God. Instead of focusing on God and His desires for our lives, we are focusing on ourselves, and what we don’t have. Or focusing on them, and what they do have. We aren’t focusing on God, and His plan for us.

Today, be on guard. Your life is not made up of your stuff. It’s made for God. Be on guard against jealously and envy. God knows it will destroy you. Guard yourselves and your heart. Give it God, and He will take care of it all!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.