In my last post, I discussed how I was feeling left out, behind, and forgotten. I’d done everything I was “supposed” to do and hadn’t received what I thought I’d “earned” because, as you know, I am still single. It’s something that we single people deal with (some of us from time to time and some struggle with these very real feelings every day). While I know that God has bigger things in mind for our lives and probably spends very little time focusing on our relationship/ marital status, as humans we are prone to temptation and turmoil when we see what others have, especially when you are single and your friends are not.
Keeping up with the Jones’ is a phrase typically used when discussing material things that we want, but it can also apply to non-material desires as well. We see that our neighbor has a nice, new car and we want one as well. We see that our friend just bought a house so we think that we need a house as well in order to be on the same level. Our friends get married so we feel like we need to find someone now in order to measure up. We never want to feel left out or left behind. And we certainly never want to feel inferior to others, especially those we are closest to. There’s something in our psychology (not to mention our earthly flesh and the influences of the enemy) that causes us to compare our lives with those around us. Sometimes we do it and we are well aware that we are making these comparisons. But there are definitely times when we don’t even know we are comparing ourselves to other people! While neither is ideal for your mental or spiritual well-being, one thing I discovered over the past few weeks is that wanting what others have is sin disguised as anger or mere discontentment!
When we give in to that sin, our relationship with God suffers. I have been so preoccupied with feeling anger toward God for following what He commanded me to do in regard to being equally yoked with a future spouse, that I didn’t see what the root of the problem was… I was feeling envy for all of my friends who are married or dating. Envy is just another word for coveting what others have. I’d, unknowingly been breaking a commandment by coveting what my friends have!
I generally like to think that while I don’t follow every rule in the bible to a “t” (that’s why I need and love Jesus), I’m most aware of and more obedient to the ten commandments. This experience, however, pointed out to me that I am just as susceptible to committing a “big” sin as I am to all of the “little” sins. Whether the sin is big or small doesn’t really matter, but I’m so glad that I figured out where my anger was actually stemming from, because it’s allowed me to turn myself around and begin to mend my relationship with God.
I know that my anger was negatively impacting my rapport with God. I didn’t feel as close to Him during my quiet time and wasn’t as motivated to spend as much time with Him as I used to. I didn’t know what to pray, so I just didn’t really talk to Him much at all and when I did it was mostly just to complain that He wasn’t being fair and that I had waited long enough. I was holding a grudge against God for “holding back on me” and my own pride and, apparently envy, was slowly inching a wedge between God and me. I didn’t see the anger itself as a sin, because I had been obedient to God in not pursuing a relationship with a non-believer so I had believed that I was justified in feeling some anger (which, I also realize now is a sin).
While I wasn’t getting the most out of all of my quiet times with God, He did eventually end up convicting me of my sin and the impact it was having on my relationship with Him. So even though I wasn’t being fully obedient, God knew what I needed to hear and met me where I was, in all of my tantruming, envious glory.
The story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:1-3 is the story that God used to speak to my anger and convict my covetous heart.
Genesis 22:1-3 “After these things, God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”
God called Abraham to sacrifice his own son and Abraham didn’t question it, didn’t get angry, and didn’t hesitate to obey God’s command. Abraham got up early the next day to begin making preparations for the long journey where he would ultimately be expected to sacrifice his child. Not only that, he brought two people with him, who could hold him accountable for what he was intending to do. While I cannot compare my situation completely to Abraham’s situation, he offers a great example of an unquestioning call to obedience. As we know, once Abraham has everything set up and is ready to complete the sacrifice, an angel comes and tells him that God has seen how he fears God and provides an alternative sacrifice in Isaac’s place. If Abraham hadn’t been obedient to God’s command, only God knows how the story would have ended.
While this is a dark example, I found it very convicting. God reinforced that I need to follow Him and trust that what He is asking me to do is right. While it may not always make sense (I’m sure Abraham didn’t understand why God had called him to sacrifice Isaac) and it certainly may not always be what I want to do (I’m sure that Abraham was not excited to sacrifice his child after so many years of difficulty in being able to have children), it’s not up to me to dictate what is right and what is wrong. God is the ultimate judge of right and wrong and we are merely called to be obedient children.
As we know, Abraham, while not perfect in any way, went on to experience a blessed life and God used Him in numerous ways. Abraham trusted God with his life and I am called to trust Him with mine. There are many examples of God blessing those who are obedient, so there’s really no reason not to trust Him. The biggest point of obedience to God’s commands that I’ve taken away from the past few weeks is that if I can trust Him to save my soul for all eternity, I should be able to trust Him in my everyday life decisions here on earth.
While I’ve been struggling with the feelings of envy and coveting what my married and coupled up friends have, I need to trust that what God is calling me to do is what is right in His plan for my life. Whether or not His plan includes a relationship at some point, I can’t say, but I’m learning to trust His will over my want.