Daily Devotions

No Room for Envy

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Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Envy is a hideous emotion that rots a person’s soul. Go back to any high school reunion, and you can see certain individuals who after 10, 20, or even 50 years, still remain trapped in the envy of their past. There is no room for Divine gratitude and thankfulness when one’s focus is bitterly on someone else.

I believe Judas’ motivation was not so much the money, but rather the envy he felt toward Jesus. That is the reason Judas was so frustrated that Jesus wasn’t more of a Zealot. This is also the reason he got so mad when Jesus let Mary rub oil on his feet. Judas was jealous because he wanted that level of admiration instead of Jesus. Look at what Judas’ envy did to him. He ended up destroying his life, and it appears he couldn’t handle the despair and killed himself.

Like Judas, envy can be a destructive force in all of our lives. It was Carlos Ruiz Zafron who said, “Envy is the religion of the mediocre. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally, it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe these to be virtues.” Envy is an easy feeling. It takes conscious effort to avoid envy and focus on the gratitude and thankfulness found in our own lives.

Today, think about the ways we let envy seep into our lives and corrode our soul. Spend some time writing down the things for which you are thankful. If a snarky, envious thought creeps in, acknowledge it, and then let it flow out of your mind. Consider how often you think negative thoughts as opposed to thankful reflections. The more you practice casting away the envy and inviting in the thankful, the more joy and happiness will fill your heart. Start today!

Play That Funky Music

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O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” (Psalm 95:1)

Why are we so hard on ourselves? We act as if we should know what we are doing. Yet, this is the first time we are living this life. Even the greatest musicians do not expect to sight-read a musical selection perfectly, without mistakes, with the right intonation, the right inflection, and the right expression. Meanwhile, we are sight-reading life and expect it to be flawless. Life isn’t flawless, and it shouldn’t be.

My wife used to accompany high school and college musicians at their competitions. She said that some gifted musicians would play a selection technically flawless, but it somehow lacked passion. Other gifted musicians would play the same selection with little mistakes, but their musicality would be exceptional and their music moved the listener deeply. Jill would much rather listen to the musician with little mistakes and passion, than the musician with technical accuracy, but no passion. I would argue that music is a reflection of our larger life.

Today, reflect on the way you approach life. Are you technically accurate in what you say and do, but are so careful that you lack passion? A passionate life is worth living. Did you choke up when Rudy tackled the quarterback in the movie of the same name? Did you beat yourself up when you did something awkward? Get up, brush yourself off, and try something new and exciting. Doing something amazing, and screwing it up, is often better than meticulously avoiding any social discomfort. In many parts of Scripture, God blesses the one who makes mistakes but swings for the fences (i.e. King David, Apostle Paul, etc.). Find something beyond your comfort zone, and reach out with reckless abandon. God’s Spirit doesn’t need to help the meticulous, but the Spirit does reach out to those whose passion is greater than their common sense. Once in a while, take a risk and play your own style of music. If you do, God just might bring more passion to your life.

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