Friday, March 7, 2014

The Thief & The Beast

While driving to work on Wednesday morning, God put some things on my heart. As I was praying through them this blog post was written. I hope you find the examples helpful. :)

THE THIEF- Comparison
"Comparison is the thief of joy.”~ Theodore Roosevelt

What a poignant quote! Seriously, who is not guilty of this? We compare ourselves to others all the time...I'm certain more times than we want to admit! Especially in our spiritual walk, we can look at others to compare if we "measure up." When we compare our walk with another person's, often our joy is stolen. We can become critical of ourselves and our walk with God. Or we can go the opposite way and instead puff up in pride and arrogance acting as though people should imitate us. This thief is sneaky and his main goal is to break & enter to steal your joy! In recent talks with younger sisters, a tone of "Why am I not where you are yet?" has popped up. I completely understand this temptation! And yet to my sisters I must share this picture quote below.

Yes, my time, failures, victories and experience have been a great benefit to my walk with God. And yet, I must go beyond this quote to say, not only, don't compare yourself to others of more experience but don't even compare your chapter one to another person's chapter one! 

In John 21 when Jesus was reinstating Peter, he says to him in verse 19, "Follow me!" Verse 20 says that, "Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them...When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him? Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 

I like these verses because in Peter's comparison question of "what about him?" Jesus reminds Peter, and us, that the real focus should be on Christ and following Him...not on what He is doing in the lives of others. The bible is your standard. Jesus is your hero. Everyone else, is simply dust in the ground. [Psalm 103:13-16] As my  years have passed and those I compared my life to have failed or fumbled, God has been helping me to shift from comparing to letting the best parts of others simply inspire me to be a better me for God! Make your goal to keep your eyes on the Lord. [Hebrews 12:2, Psalm 141:8]
THE BEAST  - Our sinful nature

The sinful nature is a beast! Paul discusses it some in Romans 7:14-24. A beast is my best description and here's why. The sinful nature is like an animal that continually needs to be tamed. Christ gives us the tools to help keep the beast in check [2 Peter 1:3] but no matter how long you've been a follower of Christ, sometimes the animal escapes or reaches it's claws through the cage to do its damage. This is why people still get hurt and hurt others even as Christians.

So in our walk with God, no matter how old someone may be as a Christian, we ALL have to continually strive to cage it up again and again. As a disciple following Jesus matures, the beast may tend to lash out less but it's never completely gone!! 

Looking at the sinful nature this way really helps me when I sin or am sinned against because it brings me to a place of compassion towards myself and others when we fail. Thank God that a blessing of heaven will be that "this animal" will meet it's end with Christ's return!

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. - Galatians 6:14

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