How do you view your life? We can view our lives from the world’s perspective or from God’s perspective. Of course being human it is natural for us to view life from the world’s point of view; we are men and women, born to men and women, and taught by men and women. But when we were saved, God indwelled us as The Holy Spirit; He imbued us with His nature. He opened our eyes and allowed us to see things from a new viewpoint, His. It is still a choice though, how we choose to look at life. Do we choose God’s eyes or ours? Verses 1-3 read,
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Our passions, the desires of our flesh fight to gain control and keep us looking at life, success and happiness through the world’s lens. You’ve been there, you check Facebook to see your friends have gone on vacation again, or out to dinner, or to the beach. The pictures are beautiful and they look like they’re having so much fun. And a part of you yearns to be on vacation or at the beach with friends. Maybe your friend just got a new car, announced she was pregnant, or got a promotion at work. All these things are good, and you are genuinely happy for her, but part of you wants it for yourself too. I long to travel. And when my friends go to the various and many destinations they are blessed to enjoy, I feel a twinge of envy. I can choose to feed that twinge, think on it, and such, I can choose to pursue ways I can travel, or I can rejoice with my friends and keep walking in the Spirit and enjoying the amazing life God has given me.
Instead of seeking the Kingdom of God, your place in it, and God’s glory, it is easy to begin seeking worldly success, possessions, and experiences. What are you praying for? Are you praying that God will grant you that job, vacation, car, or child? Are you praying that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven, that His fame would increase, and people would come to know Him? Are you praying that you would have a powerful place in His Kingdom (but really meaning the world) or are you praying that He would use you as He wishes and that the gifts He has given you would build and edify the Kingdom? Are you praying for your glory or God’s? Verses 4-10 read,
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
The Kingdom of God is not like the princedom of the world. God’s view is very different from the world’s view. Success in the world is one where the individual shows her great strength, ability, and drive. She decides what she wants in life and stops at almost nothing to achieve it. She bows to no one, people bow to her. In the world, pride is a good thing. But pride is sneaky. Pride leads to so much sin. Love of the world, money, and standing in the world all stem from pride and lead to the various sins which keep people enslaved to Satan, the prince of the world. Success in the Kingdom of God requires humility, it requires we have enough faith to give our passions and desires up to God, to bow before Him and ask for His will, not ours. It requires realizing that we have sinned and are sinners who could not and cannot save ourselves.. To want those things the world calls success is to sully our hearts with idolatry. Success in the kingdom of God shows God’s power, prowess, and persistence Draw close to God, desire Him, seek Him and He will bring us to Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts, and all life’s pieces will fall into place (Matthew 6:33). Psalm 37:1-7 reminds us to be friends with God, not with the world, to want what God wants and not worry about wanting what the world offers.
Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Some people will be better off than us. Some people will have things we want. Some people will be worse off than we are. The envy we let grow within us takes our eyes off God and His mission and puts it on the world and Satan’s mission. I have dealt with ridding myself of the envy and resentment I’ve felt toward people who have things I want. And I’ve let it become bitterness which ate away at me and nearly destroyed my testimony and made me ineffectual in God’s kingdom. I envied the success other people had at getting support for their endeavors and ministries, while I could not get even my closest friends to read a book or a blog I had written. I have envied even silly things such as how many “likes” their Facebook post got, when my similar post was ignored. I began to feel very hurt. I took it personally. I “vented” to my sister. I judged the people who I felt disregarded me and realized how hateful I sounded. I had to cry for my sin. I confessed it and repented it. It is still something I have to choose daily, to be happy for their success and to look at my life through God’s eyes and not mine or my neighbor’s. I have to say when I stopped comparing our success, God showed me who I am in His Kingdom from His eyes. I have nothing to be envious of anyone else. God loves me so profusely! He has made me a warrior princess in His Kingdom. The enemy is afraid of me. And the work I do for Him has an impact whether or not I get to see it. Verses 11-12 read,
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
It was not up to me to judge people for their perceived disregard of me or even what I saw as their hypocrisy to the Kingdom, neglect of God, or anything else. God knows their hearts as well as He knows mine. Their relationship with Him is between them and Him. I can only live for Him, seek Him, and let the glory of God shine in my life so that people will know the truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who saves not me. It is Jesus who judges, not me.
I can compare my life to everyone else’s. I can freak out and think I need worldly wealth and success to keep living. But all that takes away from the Kingdom of Heaven. When I do that, Satan laughs. I will choose instead to leave all that to God. If He chooses to give me family, wealth, success, or whatever, great. If He chooses to give me a path different from others, great. It’s not my job to worry about the worldly stuff, it is my job to purse God’s Kingdom, love my neighbor, and make disciples (Matthew 6:33, Mark 12:31, Matthew 28:19).
In Matthew 6:19-21[i] and 24-25, and 31-34 Jesus said,
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Making plans for the future, laying up treasures for your earthly life instead of your eternal one, and serving money instead of God is exactly what Satan wants from you. You will be so focused on the world, you will forget the Kingdom of God. Your heart will be on the things of the world instead of in the Kingdom of God. Verses 13-17 say it this way,
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
The worldly perspective can look good and right. When we choose to forgo worldly wisdom for Godly wisdom, people will think we’re fools and judge us as wrong. I know it because I experience it. God has called me to walk a path very different from many others. It looks wrong. If I were on Judge Judy, she would be disgusted with me and could not understand living by faith instead of a paycheck. God called me away from a nice paycheck, away from living in my own place and away from the dreams I had for a family. He has given me a ministry different than yours, but not less and not more. My life through the worldview is pitiful. My life from God’s view is wonderful and powerful. There is a commercial that says, “Change your apartment, change the world.” I say, “Change your perspective, change your life, and change the world.”
[i] Link to Matthew 6:19-34