It’s day 30 of 40 days of fasting and prayer. I haven’t said much about it. Don’t want to blow a trumpet or make a big deal out of it. However, maybe this will inspire and challenge someone to set aside time for prayer and fasting. It really makes a difference.
Why? Prayer and fasting doesn’t change God, it changes us. I’ve said that a lot. There have been other meaningful times of fasting and prayer that have changed me. But today my world was rocked. Better said, my heart was exposed.
Repentance isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a lifelong process. Something about the self-denial of fasting breaks down barriers to self-awareness. Today I saw something that I didn’t really notice before. But it was there – ugly and evil.
A little bit of context, much of my prayer this season has been about direction. I’m a couple of months away from the age of 55. There’s a lot on my mind. Pastoring a growing church – which is the “faith” way to say struggling. Facing an unsure financial future. Wanting to reach more people for Jesus. Direction and wisdom. Direction and wisdom. Direction and wisdom. I pray that all the time.
This morning, after my prayer time, I was listening to a familiar podcast. But this morning it was a Godcast – straight to my heart. One word. One common word wrecked me.
Wait. Jealousy? Not me! I’m the #lovefirst guy! I do all those Jesus Said videos and am always talking about Jesus. I’m not jealous! Not me!
But then I saw it. I felt it. Tears of repentance started. This hurts. It IS me.
It’s hard to even write this. I’d rather keep it a secret. But maybe this will help someone. Maybe this will help me to be accountable.
I was guilty of jealousy and didn’t even realize it.
What am I jealous of? Churches. Preachers. That’s right. I have been jealous of other’s success.
Why am I struggling? Why is our church not growing like theirs? Why don’t my posts and quotes get shared? In all my attempts to be like Jesus, there was still a dead man’s heart longing to be like someone else. Jealous that I’m not successful like ________________ (fill in the blank.)
What if God didn’t call me to be successful? What if I’m only able to make a handful of disciples? Jesus did pretty well with twelve. God doesn’t require success, He requires faithfulness.
And so today, I repented. I made up my mind to change my mind – to guard my heart. It was a process that I’m still learning to bless my enemies.
Today I started the process to bless those that are more successful than me. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the salvation that Jesus died to give me, I’m nailing that jealousy to His cross and letting it die there.
Success is following Jesus by dying to ourselves and our own desires. There’s not one part of my heart that’s good without Jesus. To really love my neighbor, I have to love myself enough to be crucified with Jesus… and die to selfishness. And jealousy.
God bless all the big churches! And all the great writers, speakers, and Tweeters. From this moment forward I will do better and Tweet only for Jesus. Not retweets.
Galatians 5:24-26 (NLT)
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.