The A, B, Cs of Loving One Another, “R”

By Elaine Baldwin| @elainehbaldwin

Rejoice: Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Jealousy and envy rob the bank of love without a single alarm being sounded. And selfishness and greed squash love within relationships; no fly swatter required.

I’ve been guilty of both robbing and squashing love. When I do that there is zero rejoicing and lots of weeping that could have been avoided.

Sadly my robbing and squashing is intentional. Are you surprised? Don’t be. It is intentional for you as well. That’s a hard truth for us to face, but it is imperative we do.

Jealousy is a choice. Envy is a choice. Selfishness is a choice…and so on.

Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin; Isaiah 30:1 (NASB)

We like to say things like, “Jealousy reared its ugly head” or “Greed just took over…” But these statements are false and so is the thinking that goes with them.

Here’s the truth. A thought coupled with an emotion drifts into our soul. Notice I didn’t say the thought simply comes into our mind. No thought is autonomous, nor does it just sit and hang out in our mind. We can’t separate our thoughts from our emotions or from our spirit. They are all interconnected. I believe that is why we are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. To love God with just one of these is incomplete and quite frankly impossible. You either love with all three or it isn’t really love at all.

Okay let’s go back to the thought drifting into our heart, soul, and mind. You’re at an awards banquet and you are up for an award. You don’t get it. What’s the first thought that floats in and through you?

“I wanted that award.”

This is probably a true statement. Most of us if we are nominated for an award, want the award we are nominated for. No harm, no foul with this thought…so far. We are acknowledging our desire for the award. God made us beings who desire things. If we didn’t ever desire anything there would be no innovation, no creativity, no friends, no spouses, no kids…nothing.

But here’s the crucial crossroad. What do we do with this thought, “I wanted that award”?

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14-15 (NASB)

We have a choice. The initial thought of mind, desire of heart and soul is simply stating fact. But now we have to do something with that fact.

Do we allow desire to turn to lust for the award?

“I should’ve won! That bozo doesn’t come close to my qualifications, my efforts, my abilities. I’ll have to congratulate her eventually so others won’t think bad of me.”

Of course on the outside we’re feigning a smile and clapping; nodding our head in approval. But, on the inside we have chosen lust for the award and thereby we have chosen jealousy and envy toward the person who received it instead of us.

Jealousy didn’t just “rear its ugly head.” We made the choice to lust. We made the choice to be jealous and envious over something we are not going to have.

Or do we turn our desire over to God and ask Him to bring genuine rejoicing into our heart, mind and soul?

“I am disappointed I didn’t get the award. But, Josephine Recipient is so blessed to receive it and I thank God she has this opportunity. I can’t wait to congratulate her.”

You know what? I can’t think like that without flexing some pretty strong God-empowered spiritual muscles. And that takes training and practice.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:12-13 (NASB)

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, II Corinthians 10:5

Rejoicing with others, without any selfish agenda, does not come naturally. We can’t be “thought couch potatoes.” We have to train our minds every day to take our thoughts captive and turn them from the path of lust and pride to the path of thankfulness and rejoicing.

Have we been to the spiritual thoughts gym today?

Photo By: Margaret Richards | http://richardsandcompany.smugmug.com/

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