Tuesday, April 9, 2019

confession time

Lest anyone think I have all of my life perfectly together, I thought I'd share something that happened to me over the weekend.  I have to back up and say first, though, that sometimes I do not love social media.  When I get like this, I am always tempted to delete Facebook.  For some reason, that one social media outlet is so much worse than Instagram.  Instagram is all pretty pictures and little words.  I didn't delete it, but for a whole day, I uninstalled it from my phone.  (I do this periodically, I just don't usually share about it.)  It helped tremendously with what I was struggling with, and I immersed myself in reading for the rest of the day.  (I read TWO BOOKS on Sunday alone, if that tells you anything.)  Much more importantly, I spent time in prayer and in the word of God.

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I struggle with envy. 

In my heart, I know this is so wrong, and I think I may battle this sin until the day I die.  How do I know it's a sin?  Let me show you what Colossians 3:1-5 has to say. 

(1) So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  (2) Set your minds on thing above, not on earthly things.  (3) For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  (4) When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  (5) Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 

Envy can also be described as something that is impure or even greed, when you want what someone else has (whether materialistic or a situation).  I realized what was going on in my brain when I figured all this out on Sunday, and immediately, I confessed it to God and I prayed and asked Him to forgive and change me.  I didn't feel better instantly, though.  And here is the thing: we may not always feel better instantly when we pray about something like this.  It may be an ongoing struggle for a bit, but when it happens, we need to immediately take it to God in prayer.  That's what I did.  That's what I keep on doing.  I do feel much better about it now than I did on Sunday, but I had a moment again on Sunday night, and then another one yesterday afternoon.  I may have another one today or tomorrow, who knows.  I will continue to surrender it to God, for as long as it takes. 

What triggers this?  I think that social media is the biggest factor.  It's convicting to me as I write that, because it makes me wonder, why do I post things on there?  Am I intentionally trying to make someone envious?  In my heart, I don't think that's the case, but I know it'll make me think the next time I hit that "post" button.  I also think an earthly focused mind causes this. It'll also make me pray right after I write this sentence. 

I love the verse that the image above says:

Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.  (Colossians 3:2)

A bad attitude can also trigger this feeling and the many negative thoughts that can quickly follow.  By the way, those many negative thoughts are right about where the enemy loves to hover in my life.  He does not know what I am thinking, only the Lord Jesus can know my thoughts and heart, but somehow the enemy can cause all of those feelings to escalate.  It's like a snowball effect: it starts small, but grows into something overwhelming.  When this happens, the only way to fight back and to gain control again is to read the word of God and to pray.  I cannot tell you how many times I have picked up my bible and read aloud from Ephesians 6:10-18, which is the spiritual warfare chapter.  It helps, I promise.  I don't just read it, I turn it into a prayer and personalize it.  I also speak aloud to the Lord.  I may say, "Lord, the enemy has no place in my life.  Thank You for showing me that he is at work.  Greater are You that is in me, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)." 

Another thing that I think can be a trigger, at least for me, is when I am home alone for too long.  I was home, and alone a LOT this weekend, because we were passing around a 24 hour stomach bug, and we quarantined ourselves.  We didn't even go to church on Sunday, and unless we're out of town, the six of us never miss all at the same time.  (A sweet young lady texted me to make sure we were all okay, because she noticed we were all absent, isn't that precious?)  Nobody on earth except my best friend completely knows and understands how nobody can introvert like me.  But there is a fine line between what is heavenly, and what is too much.  I think this weekend was too much.  After Friday afternoon, I didn't leave my house again until Monday morning. 

I know I am not the only one who struggles with something like this.  Anyone who says they don't struggle with some form of envy or impurity or anything of the like is lying.  We all do it, and while it's normal for us all to be like this, what matters is how we deal with it.  If you are a believer and a follower of Jesus, we are to deal with this sin.  We are to set our minds on things above (heavenly), and we are to live and act like the image bearers of Him that we are.  We are all created in His image, and it is not His will that any one of His creation would perish without knowing Him, but not all of us are believers in and followers of Him.  That means, not all of us have prayed to receive Him in our hearts and lives as Lord and Savior.  Once we do that, we undergo a radical change, evident to anyone and everyone around us.  It's what happened to me when I was in my twenties, and I became almost unrecognizable to anyone who knew me before. 

Romans 12:2 talks about being transformed by the renewing of your mind, and that means by the word of God.  Once you read His word, it should cause you to reflect upon your own life.  If your life doesn't mirror what the word of God is talking about, then sin is evident.  It's like what I talked about above when I was having feelings of envy that were impure.  I know what the word of God says on this topic, because a few years ago, I memorized the whole chapter of Colossians 3!  See how that works?  Read the word, be transformed.  I love to read y'all, you know that, but I read a quote once that is so true.  It said, "Visit many good books, but LIVE in the bible."  I don't know who it's from, and I could Google it, but I need to wrap this up.  I pray this encourages someone today!

Thanks, as always, for reading, and for the sweet words of encouragement lately.  It means a lot to me, and always refreshes my soul.  I consider you all invisible friends I know who read this, but never that I never see.  Know that I appreciate you and that I pray for you.  Love to all. 

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