My wife and I live in an apartment in quite a nice area. There are lots of really big mansion/castle looking houses right around the corner. Our block of flats is like an odd-ball, in that its surrounded by all these nice houses whilst not being too grand. (I must admit, it is really nice as well.)
The other night I was walking home from meeting with some students, and looking up at these great big houses. I wanted to share some of my thought process.
- WOW! What would it be like to live in those, I bet their always warm on the inside, I bet they have so much space. What luxury!
- Woe is me, I’m doing “Christian ministry” so I have to suffer in an apartment. I have a degree, my wife has one, if we both put our minds together and got “money-centered jobs” I bet we could afford a house like this. This is the cost of serving.
- The people who live in these nice houses, I bet they don’t love God like I do. Otherwise they’d give it all up, and live simply like we do.
In all these thoughts I see sin at work in my mind.
- Envy – they have it better than me, I want what they have.
- Self-pity – Look at all the hard work I am doing, I am such a martyr!
- Judgement – They’re just bad people, I am better than the
Apart from the enormous inconsistencies in my thinking, a lot of this thinking is filled with lies and assumptions.
After I caught myself, I had to remind myself of some really important truths.
- HOW LUCKY AM I to have a roof over my head! To live in a nice area, even to have clean water!
- God is preparing a room for me in Heaven, surely a few years living in obscurity is nothing in comparison.
- God alone knows what is happening in people’s hearts. Let Him convict and challenge them, or even CONTINUE TO BLESS THEM! It might be that they are using their houses for His kingdom’s purposes, who am I to criticize their worship!
I just want to encourage you to keep a watch on your thoughts, its so easy for the enemy (or even ourselves) to plant sinful ideas and play on our (own) insecurities and selfishness. The Bible says to think about things that are above, things that are good and worthy. Don’t bog your mind down with sinful thoughts. Ask for the Holy Spirit to direct your thinking and overcome strongholds of envy, self-pity or legalism/judgmentalnessism.
Here is my sin exposed, I thank God that He forgives me. That He accepts me in spite of my bad thoughts and sin. And that He is willing to stick with me to transform me so that I can become more like Christ!
Glory to GOD!