Be free from controversial or pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to your friends instead of your own interests.
Philippians 2:3-4, TPT
The natural tendency of my flesh is to see someone’s success (even spiritual success) and envy it. I have been watching my flesh do this lately, and have been working overtime to heed Paul’s command to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires… and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24, ESV). Now while this is work, in that it takes a conscious decision to reject one thought/ emotion and adopt another, it is work that is so immediately rewarded by the peace of the Holy Spirit that it would be more appropriately called a labor of rest. I love Hebrews 4:11, which tells us to strive to enter the rest of God that is prepared for us in Christ.
What a beautiful gospel and kingdom we find ourselves a part of – with a King who is primarily concerned not with Himself and our service of Him, but with us, and our peace. This is why we can trust His commands so thoroughly—because He is so selfless, and indeed needs nothing from us—so all that His commands MUST BE FOR US, for our good! What a kind and wonderful King!
Recently my flesh raised its ugly head when a friend was sharing with me her success. I started to envy her and subsequently found my heart wanting to isolate itself from her because of insecurity. Then I remembered God’s heart for unity in His body, and recognized the presence of wickedness. I decided to 1) believe that that was “not me” – that I have a new heart and it does not agree with wickedness; and 2) act in the opposite spirit to those feelings – by congratulating her from my heart and pursuing further connection with her. These two things broke the power of that wickedness in my heart.
As the Vertical Pursuit book says, it is our job to guard our hearts. We stand like sentries at the gates of our souls and we get to make the call as to what gets in – as well as what gets booted out. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT).
Amy (Bisenius) Dresser grew up on a country farm near Wilsonville, attended Wheaton College where she studied Bible and met her husband John, and now lives back on the family farm with her husband and 4 children (with #5 on the way!). She enjoys writing children’s bible study materials, homeschooling, and playing with her kids. Her family has attended Grace Chapel for 6 years.