Do you find yourself tearing down others or building them up? Here’s a better question: Do you celebrate things in other’s lives that you feel you should get? Promotions? New Boyfriend? Or do you feel a little green monster of jealousy?
Paul sets an example for us that we should try our best to live by. Philippians 1: 12-18 tells us that there were people sharing the gospel out of envy & rivalry. Paul shows us in verse 18 that all that matters is that “Christ is proclaimed” and that he rejoices in that.
It is so easy to find yourself deep in a fit of jealousy that you do not even know it is happening. It has happened to me. I found myself threatened by someone. Their desire to do what I was doing made me feel very insecure. I stewed on it. Tried to move on but seemed to just get sucked back into my thoughts. Our head is the worst place to be at times. Those negative tapes we play are unhealthy for us and for others. We can justify our bad behavior and we can tear down someone else just to make ourselves feel better. But stuck inside those thoughts can destroy a friendship.
I can celebrate their success only if my success is not jeopardized. Sound familiar? I felt that way until recently. I was taught to compare myself with others in a very negative way. So, when people I am around do something wonderful (and sometimes when it is not so wonderful), I compare myself. I basically set myself up to fail. I also set up a friendship to fail. And when I focus on the negative, I become a grouchy offended person.
Philippians 1:27 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”
Am I living a life worthy of the gospel? Am I standing firm in ONE spirit? Am I side by side with another person for the faith of the gospel? These are questions I find myself asking now. If I feel called to write, why does the same calling in another person make me feel threatened? “One” and “side by side” are words that should be key to celebrating each other.
When we feel insecure, it is so easy to reach out to someone and share that misery. In your friendships do you feel you have to “gear up” to be someone’s friend? That person might be a drainer. I feel that way from time to time. I have to gear up in order to protect myself. I also feel I am the drainer. If you are not a person who pours into others, making them feel relaxed and uplifted (pointing them back to Christ), then you, my friend, are a drainer. (Welcome to the club.)
So how do we change? First step is to identify the issue. For me, I am insecure about my writing. I feel threatened by others when I read their writing and it is so much better than my own. Insecurities rob me of my calling. Insecurity paralyzes me and prevents me from writing. I need to STAND FIRM in the knowledge that God called me to write. I can pray for others and their writing. It is not easy to put yourself out there. I can acknowledge their talent without feeling threatened. I can praise them. If they are pointing others to Christ, then I can rejoice!
I hope that you can find some truths that apply to your own life in this blog. How we speak to ourselves needs to change. But how we think of others needs to reflect Christ in us. How is that going? Do you reflect Christ in your thoughts of others? Or are you like me, failing daily?
My prayer today is Psalm 51:10-13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, a renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presences, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”
I hope you pray this scripture too. We need the joy of salvation and a willing spirit. We need to show grace to others and also to ourselves.
Our calling is to point others to Christ. How we do that speaks volumes as to who we are. Do you tear others down to another person, or do you build that person up and point others to Christ in doing so?