I have..many times...let me explain:
Being poisoned, especially accidental self-inflicted poisoning, is a terrible experience! One time I bought some peanuts from a grocery store in a bulk-barrel and unbeknownst to me, most of the peanuts in there were completely rotten on the inside. I didn't realize this until I ate about five of them and then I noticed a fuzzy green mold forming on the next one I was about to ingest. I wasn't too worried about it, until about a half-an-hour later when I started to sweat profusely with a throbbing headache, my stomach began cramping in horrible pain, and I knew I better quickly run to the nearest bathroom. "Yuck!" I never want to experience that again; eating rotten food is not good - - the poison does terrible things to your body. So does the poison of envy & jealousy - and you don't accidentally ingest this, because it is willful self-inflicted poisoning!
Are you a jealous person? Do you ever let envy get the better of you? Because if you do, be careful; if you do not stop jealousy and envy in its tracks, you will become spiritually sick! You will soon be filled with bitterness toward others, back-biting and slander will take over your conversation. And when your sickness gets severe, you may even start to blame God himself for your lack. It must be stopped!
I am so jealous. I grew up being jealous, especially when it comes to my older brother. He was able to dunk a basketball, while all I could dunk was a donut in a cup of milk. He looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger with his shirt off; I looked like Arnold Horshack from the goofy TV show, “Welcome Back Kotter.” I then grew into being jealous. It became a normal pattern of thought for me as I watched the "cool guys" always get what they wanted at school. It seemed like the lecherous dudes always dated the pretty girls, they made the starting basketball team and always drove a brand new car. I think I am now growing old in jealousy. Even as a pastor I am not immune from this horrible disposition. I just can’t understand why people would leave "my church" (see how it makes you self-centered?) and go to another? Maybe... if I had a preaching voice like Chuck Swindoll, be as cutting-edge and funny as Mark Driscoll, I would have a church as big as Joel Osteen? I can’t seem to get away from my envy and jealousy, it follows me everywhere I go. Ugh!
But this week in John 3:27, John says, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John wants us to see life as a play directed by God, where as writer, producer & director Jesus gets to choose which roles the actors are going to play. John wants to teach us that seeing life rightly makes other’s accomplishments and successes so much easier to take. Don’t get jealous, learn to accept and enjoy your role. One writer puts it like this, “The best antidote to envy and jealousy is the conviction of the sovereignty of God. The places, successes, and failures of our employments and endeavors are under the sovereignty of a wise God. It is extremely comforting to know that what one has been given or has not been given in one’s vocation is traceable not only to our abilities and disabilities but even more to the providence of God.”
If God is for me, can I not trust his appointments in my life? Can I accept that God is also for others? If the answer is yes, I need to learn to rejoice when others rejoice. Contentment is born from a sure conviction that God knows what he is doing, and that his doing is good. "But every time I surf Facebook, go onto Pinterest, watch High School sports & even sit through pizza commercials on TV, everyone is happy! And if you were to look closely at my situation, well...I am a sad, hopeless, bucket of tired bones."
Focus! Focus! God knows what he is doing..so let him do, and be content in his doing. It is the only way to avoid the long term effects of poisoning: spiritual nausea, better known as depression. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and he will direct your paths!" (Proverbs 3:5-6)