This ones gonna hurt! Jealousy is the ugliest thing, and it can be so subtle. Like me, if someone would have asked, “Do you battle envy,” I would have quickly said, “no!” I mean, come on! Who wants to admit that? It is staggering, our ability to focus on what others have that we don’t. This is only intensified like the power of the sun by social media! Honestly, if you didn’t look at social media the problem doesn’t go away, because in us is still the issue of being lured by comparison/coveting/envy. All it takes is one trip to Instagram land, where I see someone like my friend, Ethan Hulse wining the BMI songwriter of the year award and then THERE IT IS! Right now, as I am writing this, I am legit happy for Ethan! He is a great guy and a seriously fantastic writer! I celebrate what God is doing in and through him! Yet, for someone reason, when I first saw the post, what started as a slight jab in my gut, ended with the thought, “I want that!” What the what?!? Gross!!!! Lol! The struggle is real, ya’ll! 

Listen, you may read this and think, “geez Stephen! You get to make music and travel leading worship for a living! Why do you care about something like that when you are so blessed?” My response is, “I know, right!” It’s crazy! Yet, we all do this! What’s happening in this process, if noticed and dealt with, is the revelation that some of my heart is still not given over completely to God. No one wants to admit they battle envy. Yet, If I stop and address it, rather than secretly sweeping it under the rug, I can repent and return my hearts to the place where it belongs. God is the only One who can be jealous, and what He is jealous for is me, all of me! 

It’s interesting that one of the last things mentioned in the Gospel of John is Peter being told to follow Jesus, but then immediately looking at the disciple John and asking, “what about him?” So Jesus has to reiterate, “what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” (21:21-22) The question is, what is sidetracking us today from simply following him? It’s not like He isn’t enough to meet the deepest longings of my life. He is life! 

1 John 2:16 reads, “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” The probable with finding our fulfillment in our earthly achievements, is they are never enough. They are simply cravings without end. Today, join me in repenting of jealousy, and giving our hearts to God, and asking Him to give us His heart for others. Only then, when you see His favor on their lives, can you truly celebrate without being poisoned by comparison or envy. This is the real liberation that is your inheritance as a son or daughter of God! May the desire to just be His and love others as He does, well-up within you, flooding your heart and mind, in Jesus name!

003Stephen McWhirter