I did it again. I talked to a friend who seemed to have it all and felt the old green-eyed monster rise up. Donâ€™t get super-spiritual on me; I know you do it too! You compare yourself with someone else and suddenly what you have seems mediocre or lacking in some way. You feel less than content with your situation in life and I donâ€™t necessarily mean wealth or possessions. You find yourself wanting what you donâ€™t have, such as the perfect spouse, child, boss, pastor, lawn, body, vacation destinationâ€¦and the list goes on.
We are taught to pray for what we donâ€™t have and that is perfectly scriptural.Â James says, â€œYou have not because you ask notâ€. We are taught to keep asking, seeking and knocking for that door to open. But sometimes we â€˜ask amissâ€™, or with wrong motives (James 4: 2 and 3), even if what we are asking for is a good thing. I realized that one prayer I kept praying was exactly that situation. I was whining at God to give me what I wanted, like a spoiled child, without the best of motives. To be honest, I was a little ticked that He hadnâ€™t given me what I wanted.
I had looked at others and decided that they had things in their lives that IÂ didn’tÂ have, therefore, my situation must be less than perfect. Sometimes society in general shouts messages at us that we need certain things in our lives to be happy. I listened too closely to these messages, forgetting to listen to Godâ€™s voice. He tells me that He is everything I need. He has blessed me with much andÂ I’mÂ rich in so many ways. Discontent with what I have is actually ingratitude for everything that my Saviour has given to me and done for me, and everything He has promised He will be to me. How dare I take so much for granted and count it all as worthless?
The apostle Paul was able to find contentment in everything and he went through so much more than I ever will. Paul experienced beatings, shipwrecks, hunger, loss, as well as times of plenty and wealth. He found contentment regardless of what his situation was. I believe it was because he lived a life of gratitude to the Lord, thankful for all His provision. Paul saw the times when God delivered him from evil and certain death. He knew that the Lord was the giver of every good and perfect gift, even life itself.
I had lost sight of Paulâ€™s perspective on life. I forgot about everything the Lord had done and the miracles He had performed in my life. Like the Israelites in the desert, I spit out the miracle manna He provided, longing instead for Egyptian chicken.
King David was another one who lost the attitude of gratitude and went looking for greener pastures. Instead of doing the work the Lord had placed in front of him as a King, he stayed home from battle and became bored with life (2 Samuel 11:1). He glanced over and saw Bathsheba, and that began a series of tragic loss, heartbreak and death. So much came from envying another manâ€™s wife. That envy began with a loss of perspective for the job that God had given to him and a lack of gratitude for what God had given him.I hope and pray this is one lesson I wonâ€™t easily forget. To compare ourselves with ourselves and realize ways in which we need to learn and grow is a necessary and positive step to reach our potential in Christ. To compare ourselves with others creates envy, strife and an attitude of ingratitude to the One Who gives us the air we breathe. How dare we spit out the manna?
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