The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
I started singing solos in church when I was about 3 years old. I don’t really know if I was any good at it, but you know how people are when children get up and do such things. They tell them how wonderful it was. My oldest little brother, Jimmy, was born around the time I started singing publicly. I kept singing all of my life. Jimmy didn’t sing in church unless our parents made us sing together. He didn’t really like it and I didn’t like for him to sing with me. What I didn’t realize when we were children was that Jimmy hated the attention my solos in church got me. And, I must admit, I liked it too much. One day, when he was around first grade and I was about 4th, I had sung that morning in church. Everyone was bragging on my song and I was basking in the attention. I looked at my little brother and asked a stupid question, “What did you think about it, Jimmy?” The answer came, “I HATED IT!”
The truth be told, he didn’t hate the song or my singing so much as he despised the attention that was being given to his older sibling and the way his big brother was loving it. Eventually, we both outgrew the issue although sibling rivalry tends to float around in almost every family, even into adulthood. But sometimes it can get way out of hand.
We have all seen children of every age boil with envy over a favor done for one sibling that was not done for another. You have probably witnessed adult children taking each other to court in a lawsuit over the last will and testament of parents. Rather than comforting each other over the loss, arguments and battles arise over who gets their stuff.
Jealousy and envy can destroy the best of relationships and can gut the life of the person who bears the pain. King Saul loved David for the beautiful music he played for him when he was tormented. He loved David for killing the Giant Goliath and for the great military victories he won for him and his armies. But one thing disrupted his love. He learned that David’s popularity was beginning to soar above his own. Saul was very prideful and already knew that God had decided to take his crown away and give it to another because of his disobedience. Although he was unaware of Samuel’s anointing of David to assume the throne in his place, Saul was beginning to observe how popular the young man was becoming with the people. As a result, love turned into disdain.
This hatred would grow stronger with time and become the driving force in one of the most miserable lives ever experienced. The rest of his life he would fight a bitter unholy war against David and his supporters. One of those supporters was his oldest son, Jonathan. Jonathan and David remained fast friends all the way up until Jonathan’s untimely death. He stood to lose his so called “right and privilege” to assume his father’s throne. But he wanted the best for his great friend, David and honored and protected him the rest of his life.
Can you see the difference between these two men? The difference was in their hearts. The self-centered, egotistical heart of Saul caused him to be envious and jealous of anyone more popular than himself, or even anyone he thought might be more admired. Jonathan’s generous heart held others in high esteem because he appreciated their talent and abilities. David’s heart was gracious and respectful toward both of them because his first goal was to honor God and whatever God wanted. He honored the dishonorable King because he was God’s anointed. Therefore he would honor Saul even when the King attempted to make him into a pin cushion with his spear.
1 Corinthians 3:3 says, “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Envy and Jealousy will eat you up from the inside out. These are strong indicators that a person is not walking with God, but living in opposition to him and his will. The Bible calls such living “sin.” If you find yourself leaning toward these attitudes, please repent, before they have consumed you in a tsunami of hatred. Lean on Jesus and plead with him to transform your heart to one of love, generosity and forgiveness. Let 1 Corinthians 13 be your guide.
Take on a heart like that of David and Jonathan; the heart of Christ.
This Sunday we will continue our sermon series, When God Build’s a King, How a lowly shepherd became a great king. The message this week will be “God Builds a Reputation” based on 1 Samuel 18. Please join us in this heart changing message.
Learning to love,