“….I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out….What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
This is the story of my life. So, anyone who thinks that I carry the notion that I am somehow better than anyone else can just drop it. I struggle daily with one thing or another. Right now, it’s jealousy. The petty, nonsensical, junior high kind. The kind that makes a kid wish they were in the popular crowd, but disdains the same crowd for being too snooty.
Just like the Apostle Paul, I find myself struggling with thoughts and emotions that do not make sense, thoughts that could easily lead me into the sin of envy.
I would enumerate these thoughts to you, but you would either laugh at me or marvel at the shallowness of them.
Something my dad told me often when I was growing up comes to mind. “Tiff, there will always be someone in your life who is better than you are at whatever it is that you are doing.” Good advice, which has sustained me for a long time, helping me to be content in the circumstances in which God has seen fit to place me.
Over the years, I also learned that there will always be someone who has more and does more than me, and gets more attention for it. Not an easy thing to reconcile myself to when I am one who craves attention and acknowledgment for a task well done.
So, I know better. Yet, here I sit, with a war going on in my mind. I look around at others and foolishly compare myself with them in everything that is shallow and meaningless, when measured against eternity.
In my limited understanding, I long to do more than what I am doing in many areas, yet know that I couldn’t possibly, without jeopardizing the values of simplicity and peace Levi and I are trying to instill in our home. I long to do and be things which would only bring busyness and stress into the life of my family, even if it brought me temporary happiness, and even though they are all “good” things.
I long to be the butterfly drawing gasps of admiration from the people around me, yet I know that it is a broken and contrite heart filled with genuine humility that the Lord finds most beautiful.
The kind of humility that does not think higher of itself than it ought, and neither does it try to think lower of itself than it ought.
I have a long way to go.
Who is it that I live to please, really? I thought I lived to please my God. This green-eyed monster staring me in the face says otherwise. I am jealous today.
I want to tell you that I have had a grand victory over this sin, but that would be lying. I am battling it even now, as I type. Over and over again, I find myself running to Jesus, tears streaming down my face, and flinging my jealous thoughts at the foot of the Cross, like so much rancid garbage, in exchange for forgiveness. I am so drenched in his blood right now, that I can scarcely breathe.
It seems never-ending. “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” I am so grateful he does not tire of my coming to him over and over again with the same problems.
Do you know how Wall-E scoops garbage into his little robot body, compacts it into a neat little cube, and with a cheery “Ta-dah!” spits it out? It seems to me that Jesus has been doing the same thing for me, only, when he compacts my garbage, it is a diamond that emerges. He takes great joy in giving me beauty for ashes.
So, I do not kick myself over this. I am not despairing in this whole “what-I-hate-I-do” thing. Frustrated, yes. Taking it lying down? NEVER!
I know I will gain the victory, because Jesus already did. I just have to put on my armor, give myself some grace, and stand. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Evil may be right there with me as I try to do right, to humble myself, and to see myself as God sees me, but also with me is the author and finisher of my faith. The One who went to the Cross willingly, and thought of me as he hung there, dying. The One who conquered death, hell, and the grave by walking out of a tomb three days later – fully and physically alive – is on my side!
“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” ~Thessalonians 5:24
I leave you with an anthem of mine, especially meaningful to me in the times I struggle with the weight of the mundane, forgetting the glory around me.