God’s Grace & Our Faith (Part 54): A Religious Mindset Promotes Competitive Jealousy & Stifles Your Faith

by Rick

Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” We are looking at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus. Our primary scriptures are John 1:14 & 17. In our last message, we also looked at Galatians 6:12,13. We will go back to these verses today and add Galatians 5:26 as well.

(John 1:14 New International Version)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:17 New International Version)

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

(Galatians 6:12,13 The Passion Translation)

12 All those who insist that you be circumcised are recruiting you so they can boast in their own works. They are attempting to avoid the persecution that comes with preaching the liberating message of the cross of Messiah!

13 Not even those who are circumcised keep every detail of the written law. Yet they push you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you have become like them.

(Galatians 5:26 The Passion Translation)

So may we never be arrogant, or look down on another, for each of us is an original.  We must forsake all jealousy that diminishes the value of others.

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Many who focus on works are doing so to highlight/showcase their own works.

— The Apostle Paul was very upset about the fact that Jewish converts to Christianity were attempting to coerce Gentile (non-Jews) converts to Christianity to get circumcised. Paul knew that once you are in Christ, being circumcised or not being circumcised means nothing. The only thing that matters is the fact that you have made Jesus your Lord. Paul drove him this point over and over again in his letter to the believers in Galatia.  The Apostle used circumcision as an example of people being religious and focusing on works instead of faith in Jesus.  

— Towards the end of his letter, Paul made the point that they were only doing this so that they could emphasize their own works. They wanted non-Jews to subject themselves to the requirements of The Law of Moses because it would help them feel better about themselves and their dogged determination to focus on works. In other words, saying, “You must do what I do,” or “You must do what I have done,” helps religious people feel better about what they do and what they have done. Paul’s point is that none of this really matters once you are in Christ. Paul said, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6).

— Paul said, “All those who insist that you be circumcised are recruiting you so they can boast in their own works.” (Galatians 6:12). His point is that religious people like to focus on works, so they can take pride in what they have done. It’s a pride issue.  People who live this way find validation in their performance and are condescending towards anyone who does not seemingly perform on their level. In short, religious people drive others away from Jesus because no one wants to be looked down upon or talked down to. Don’t let this be you. Embrace God’s grace and walk in His love. If you do, you will draw the world to Jesus and not drive them away.

— It boils down to this: The Law required and Grace provides. Under the Old Covenant, things were required OF us. Under the New Covenant, God has already provided FOR us. It’s really that simple.  If you believe and receive this, you will stop focusing on your own performance and stop judging others based on theirs!

2.  When you live #TheGraceLife, you see no need for competitive jealousy.

Paul said, “So may we never be arrogant, or look down on another, for each of us is an original. We must forsake all jealousy that diminishes the value of others.” (Galatians 5:26). 

— When you know you are an original, you see no need to be jealous of anyone else. You are so free that you are free to see yourself the way God sees you.

— Paul teaches us that jealousy “diminishes the value of others.” It also diminishes your own value because you are so focused on others that you fail to appreciate who God has called you to be.

— When you understand God’s grace and are free to be the man/woman you are called to be, you see no need to compare yourself to anyone else. Because you know you are an original. No one else has your assignment. No one else has your destiny.  No one else on this entire planet is called to do what you are called and graced to go. So God wants you to embrace the freedom and grace to be YOU!

— When you are secure in who you are and what you are called to do, you are so FREE that you can celebrate the diversities of giftings and callings without jealousy. You can sincerely celebrate others because you know that building them UP does not tear you DOWN.

Insecure people are afraid to celebrate others because they think that valuing someone else means DE-valuing yourself. This is a lie.  But if you believe a lie, you will live the lie you believe. The devil has convinced many people to think that the only way they can be BUILT-UP is by TEARING other people DOWN!  And the sad truth is that this happens in the church. Don’t let this be you. Embrace the grace to be YOU, celebrate others genuinely, and know that it takes ALL of us to be the church God has called us to be.      

4.  Competitive jealousy will cause you to desire things God does not desire for you, which will stifle your faith and prayer life.

— God wants you to want what He wants for you.

— God wants you to build up a desire for the things He planned for you from the foundations of the world. 

— I told you before that when you pray, you must be praying for things that align with God’s will for YOUR life. This means that you must pray back to God the things that He already prayed over you.

John said, “We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say” (1 John 5:14, 15 ERV). Did you see that what we pray for has to agree with what He wants for us? Another translation of this verse reads, “We have such confidence in him that we are certain that he hears every request that is made in accord with his own plan.” This series is about God’s grace and your faith. John is teaching us what I have been teaching you for months. Faith begins where the will of God is known. Where there is no grace, there can be no faith.  John is saying that if you want God to hear and answer your prayers, you must pray in accordance with His own plan for your life!    

— Going back to what Paul was teaching, if you start coveting what God is doing in someone else’s life, and you pray for those things, you may be praying for things He did not destine for you have. Those prayers will NOT be answered because those prayers, by definition, are selfish. You’re asking for something based on what you crave from someone else’s life instead of asking for what God destined you to have and do.

— Frustrations sets in when you make a demand on God for something that is not yours!

Not only will jealousy cause you to devalue and disrespect the individuality of your divine calling, but it will also derail your faith and your prayer life because you will build up desires for things God did not desire for you.

— You only have the grace to run your race at your pace with God’s grace.

If while you are attempting to run your race at your pace with your race, you lose your focus by shifting your attention to what others are doing, and you start building up a desire for the things that God is doing in their life instead of your own, you will frustrate the grace on your life. The other person will keep going. The other person is just fine. The other person is seeking God for themselves. But here you are, so focused on what God is doing in their lives that you fail to embrace, accept, and celebrate what God wants to do in, with, and through you!

Declaration of Faith

Father, I fully and freely accept Your grace. I see no need to compare myself to anyone else.  

You will never judge me by someone else’s assignment. When I get to heaven and stand before You, You will only judge me according to the measure of my purpose that I was able to complete before I died.    

No one else has my assignment. No one else has my destiny. This frees me to be ME.  

This also frees me to allow others to be the men and women You have called them to be.  

Valuing others does not devalue me. So I celebrate my brothers and sisters. I have no need to be jealous.  

I am an original, and I walk into this day as Destiny’s Child! I am a child of the Most-High God. You are ON me, IN me, WITH me, and FOR me! Therefore, GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.

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