I should have known, as I seriously considered that God might be using the "verse of the day" as a basis for this post, that some element of it would appear in my life quickly.
-- For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Right in the middle is where I found myself, in case your curious. Strife and confusion. But nothing my headphones and The Healing Rock radio station, courtesy of The Healing Stream Media Network couldn't help relieve and buoy my spirits.
Interestingly enough, James says, envy. It's close relative jealousy, involves the thought that one was more rightly deserving. Envy involves the want or coveting of something that has simply been awarded or achieved by another. Whether I deserve it is a mute point... I'm simply discontent that you have it or obtained it.
Perhaps strife is a bit strong for my experience. I don't know that it qualifies as vigorous and bitter conflict (probably not, actually) but to consider the mixing of envy and bitter conflict and the problems that follow are both obvious and unpredictable.
We have seemingly perfected the art of comparison and yet, it controls us to the point of creating stress and tension... confusion ultimately, and getting it sorted out is never easy.
Kids do this well. Comparison comes naturally. And quickly. If not handled properly, it sets them up for a life of continued discontentment... such that bitterness will set in and create conflicts quick enough to make one's head spin. I'm amazed at how often I am faced with my own discontentment in light of where others are in life. I'm not sure if it was any easier before social media, but Facebook certainly has not helped this epidemic.
Sadly, it does and has crept into the church and the very fabric of ministry. As much as organizations boast of increased sales, gained market share and improved customer or employee retention, so to churches... talk of increased attendance, explosive youth groups and amazing vacation bible school programs.
What a dangerous message to send to the next generation of adults, that we have not only figured out how to handle (or mishandle, rather) discontent in our home, but that we've allowed it to present itself within the church. Conflict ensues, confusion results and now the enemy has access to destroy, as the opening has been created for other evils to enter.
Well... now we know how to pray! On this #youthPastorWednesday, pray a spirit of contentment; in who were are people, and as believers... as the children of God. May we live by example and put behind us envy (and jealousy, for that matter). Though we will face difficulty and conflict in our lives, may the Holy Spirit help us, that it would not create bitterness within us, whereby dominating both word and deed; action and reaction. Pray a constant reminder that our identity is in Christ and we are His. May we do well, to teach and instill the same, both in our homes, and our youth and children's ministries. Pray a consistency among the people of God, that while we are not perfect, we do call on God and rely on Him to help us live a life pleasing to Him, displaying the love of Christ to a world being destroyed by the evil within.
May we overcome evil with God.
By the power of God
And the love of Jesus Christ at work in our hearts.
Content, not because of our self,
But who we are in Christ.
For the glory of God.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.