I often find myself being jealous of what others have or with how their lives are. I compare myself to my friends and people I meet and far more often than not I feel inferior. I compare my achievements to those of other men my age and I feel so left behind. I feel very unsuccessful.
A few weeks ago, in one of these states, I found myself properly envious of where a couple my wife and I are friends with are in their lives and just how easily things seem to happen for them. Before I could even start complaining, God he showed me some scripture and swiftly brought me some discipline. Having grown up without the discipline that a father should bring I still find it difficult to accept discipline – even though I know how much I need it.
Check out what God had to say:
James 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
1 John 3:15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
How hectic is that? It was a big pill to swallow, but I knew I was wrong in the way I was thinking about stuff.
The cool thing about how Jesus disciplines though, is that He does it with love and always offers and alternative for my poor behaviour or flawed characteristics. Just after He disciplines and shows the error of my attitude by saying ‘You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight’ he follows it up by the good news – ‘You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.’
He shows His love for me and teaches me what to do differently.
So now I’m learning to look closely at my motives and then, when I know my motives are good and I’m not just out to benefit myself, I ask God for what I need.
We all need discipline. It’s what’s helps us change and be a better version of ourselves. A version we, and others, like to be around.