Thursday, January 19, 2012

Putting the Green-Eyed Monster in its Place

I'm about to get very real here. I've been experiencing some emotions that I was having a hard time defining, until last night when I came face to face with a really ugly label to put on these feelings. It's almost too ugly to even type out, but here it is in all its nasty glory...

It seems like such a petty thing, reserved for junior high girls and their ever fickle friendships, yet as a middle-aged woman, I found myself smack-dab in the middle of this (let's call it what it is) sin, and let's face it, there's a reason it's called the green-eyed monster. It can quickly devour rational thought and obliterate emotions. It's crazy how craftily it can sneak into a relationship without my even being aware of its presence until it has reeked all kinds of havoc.

This morning I realized that I had been feeling like the workers in the vineyard who who had worked all day for the same pay as those who only worked an hour. As I re-read this familiar Bible story, it was pretty clear to me that Jesus is represented by the landowner. Only He doesn't just own the vineyard, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Just as a vineyard owner plants the grape seeds and tends his crops, I asked Jesus to plant His truth deep in my heart and tend to the growth process until I eventually bear the fruit of the spirit. I imagined the landowner's response to the workers as if Jesus were speaking to me. 
Yes, that's about as far as I got for several seconds, because it just blows me away that Jesus calls ME friend! Once that truth sank in, I continued reading, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous? So the last shall be first, and the first last." 

Immediately following this parable in Matthew 20, the next scene is when Mrs. Zebedee asked Jesus if her sons could sit next to Him in heaven. His response? 
"You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?...My cup you shall drink; but to sit on my right and on my left, this is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father...whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

The very next account recorded is when Jesus stopped for the blind beggars and asked them what they wanted Him to do, then He proceeded to heal them. In other words, He served them.

Now I could spend all day writing a lengthy Bible study on all the many truths hidden in these verses, but here is what God showed me this morning and how I prayed to Him concerning what I was experiencing.

Oh, sweet and patient Lord, I want my eyes to be so fixed on You and the work You call me to do that I don't even notice when I'm not included or when someone else gets the recognition. Thank You, Savior that jealousy is one of those ugly sins You took upon Your unblemished body and crucified. I now confess this sin to You in humble gratitude that You are faithful and just to cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness. I bring my spirit back into alignment with the finished work of the cross. This sin is covered by Your precious blood. The only reason it will ever rear its ugly head is if I agree with the lies the enemy whispers in my ear. Holy Spirit, make me so aware in the very beginning stages of those lies, what the devil is up to, so I can say with the authority given to me as a daughter of The King, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

The landowner said, "Take what is yours and go."
What is mine is my inheritance as my Father's child. Psalm 103 lists some of the benefits that come with that inheritance: salvation from sin, healing of diseases, rescue from the pit, a crown of steadfast love and mercy, ETC! One denarius is worth A LOT in the Kingdom! 

The next thing He says to do is "Go". I need to take my inheritance and go preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. I received freely. I must give freely. No strings attached. No accolades. No earning favor. Just serving the One Who so readily serves me. Fixing my eyes on Him at all times. 

When my eyes are fixed on Him, how could there be room for jealousy? No friendship, no fame, no earthly treasure can satisfy like The Bread of Life. I taste and see that He is good. And that is enough.