Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Choices. We make them every day, every moment we are awake. Some choices are easy, some are tough but no matter which way one looks at it, a choice always has to be made. The question is: by whose standard do you base your choice upon? There are times we are faced with a choice that we do not have a set precedent for. Other times we have a history, even if it is not our own, to guide our decision. One of the wisest choices we can make is to learn from the past, as Paul writes in 1 Cor 10:11 (NLT), “All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close.” One of the events spoken of by Paul can be found in Num 21:5-6. To put it in a nutshell, the people were grumbling about God’s provision because, basically, they were tired of the manna. It does not take much of an imagination to think they had to be grateful and joyful when it first fell from Heaven but somewhere along the way their attitude changed. Could it be that envy crept in? Envy can, and often does, creep in silently, unannounced. In its most basic form, envy is a heart condition and when left unchecked, moves to become a thought process that then produces incorrect actions. Simply defined, envy is a desire for some advantage or possession belonging to another. Envy can manifest itself in different degrees and even a little envy is harmful. Therefore, we must be careful to guard our hearts and minds against the smallest, most seemingly harmless thoughts. Who has ever compared their life to another’s? Who has ever compared their family to another family? So why do we find it easier to think our lives would be better if we were more like someone else, forgetting along the way that it is God who sends provision for each day? His grace is sufficient for us but still we tend to that it is only a part time offer, forgetting to focus on the power of God that works best through our weakness. 2 Cor 12:9 (Amplified) tells us: “But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you, sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in your weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!” We do well to remember, like Paul, that we do not need to rely on our own strength and power for any situation we find ourselves in. Neither do we get to passively envy those who seemingly have fewer struggles than we do. God’s grace helps us bear the troubles. Each one of us will find ourselves in a day of turmoil, but instead of making the choice to look around, let’s choose to look to our God and remember His promise to us in Romans 8:28 (Amplified), “We are assured and know that with God being a partner in their labor, all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design an purpose.” By holding onto God’s Word, we can choose freedom from a life filled with envy.