The Enemy Of Joy

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It is in our very nature to compare.  Without a second thought, we size one another up.  This person is skinnier.  That person has a bigger house.  How do they go on vacation every year?  They’re believers, why do they not struggle?  Comparison.  The enemy of joy.

When we start to look toward our friend, neighbor or that stranger, we lose sight of our own world.  The blessings God has given us can seem smaller or dimmer.  Satan uses comparison to create longing in us where there once was satisfaction.  He digs a hole that cannot be filled.

Scripture calls this coveting.  Exodus 20:17 says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”  (It’s important enough for God to repeat in Deuteronomy 5:21.)  At the end of what we know as the Ten Commandments is this call to evaluate ourselves.  Coveting is a deep yearning and desire for something.  Often, something that belongs to someone else.  Amidst God’s key instructions to the Israelites about what not to do and what to do in regards to people and Himself, He asks us to evaluate our hearts, our motives.  Our deepest desire should never be for any thing or person or circumstance.  It is reserved for Christ alone.  Our longing is to be for Him, and it is to be filled by Him.  When we seek to place something or someone in the place of our “God shaped hole,” we will come up short.  We will not be satisfied.

Christ said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)  When we place the desire of our heart on what we want or wish we had, the thief has stolen our joy.  He has diverted our attention.  He has gotten us off task.  The abundant life Christ offers is in Him alone.  He is the source of joy.

Maybe you are tempted to look next door, across your desk or down your pew and think, “I wish…”  Remind your brain that comparison is the enemy of joy.  Speak the truth of Jesus’ words over yourself.  Take a moment to consider your heart before the Lord.

May we be as Paul who said, “…For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11b-13)  Paul knew that his joy was not in his circumstance, but in His Savior.  This week may we be reminded that our joy comes from the Lord!  May we refuse to give in to comparison.  May we exalt the Savior.

Be blessed!

Miranda

 

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5 Comments

  1. shelly johns
    Posted June 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Excellent reminder!

  2. Kelli
    Posted June 17, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    This post is right on spot with many thoughts swirling around in my head today! Thank you for posting:)

  3. Lisa
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Great post Miranda. I heard Matt Chandler say: “Comparison leads to sin. Either to jealousy or pride.”
    Thanks for a great reminder.

  4. Sara Schroader
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Comparison, and it’s cohort competition, often keep us from being effective in our walk and in ministry. Thanks for this good word Miranda!

  5. Miranda Sharp
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the encouragement, ladies, and for sharing your great thoughts as well. It is a blessing to “do life” together!

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