Monday, May 9, 2005
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. - Proverbs 14:30
Recently I received a book by snail mail - a gift from an author I met on-line. I took the book downstairs and propped it up on the bookrack on my new treadmill. I opened it up being careful not to break the spine. I love the way a new book feels. I love the way I feel - excited about the treasure hidden between the covers.
And what a treasure it was. The writer included an entire book's worth of information in the first chapter. My thirty-minute workout passed by before I knew it.
While I savored the spiritual morsels in the book, I had to quash an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach - something like literary nausea. Why would I ever try to write another word? Who was I to think I could communicate deep spiritual insights? I'm shallow.
As a first step to rid myself of this illness, I sent an email to the author praising her book. Then I prayed. And prayed some more. If I am to continue to write, I must believe God has a message contained in this container of clay that only I can write. I asked God to replace jealousy with trust. I do trust in His plan, His will, and His purpose for me, and my plea is for strength and wisdom to build on His blueprint for my life.
Admitting my feelings represents a healthy step in overcoming them. James wrote, "But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth" (James 3: 14).
Soon it wasn't difficult to admit I would not have wanted to write the book that induced such envy. Many tears and heartache had been experienced before the author wrote the first word. Deep insight came from passing through deep valleys. Mountaintop highs resulted in magnificent praise.
Paul wrote, "Let us not desire vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another" (Gal. 5:26).
When I read beautiful writing, I desire to give genuine compliments to the author, and praise to God Who inspired the author.
Do you ever find yourself in this same trap? Maybe the ministry isn't writing, but singing or teaching or preaching.
Let us praise God at all times for His goodness and His faithfulness to inspire beauty - whether it comes though us or someone else.
I have green eyes. I don't want them to be green with envy.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the burden to work for You, and ask that You anoint me to do the work You have for me. Help me to praise others and encourage them in their ministries. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.