I left off Monday with a question.
How do we do it?? How do we stop this perpetual jealousy/self-doubt/comparison trap that seems to come up every time we open a magazine or see that a friend has something we want.
How do we STOP this “stinking thinking?”
1) Take a solemn vow against all computers, televisions and magazines. Wear your technology-chastity belt proudly. Surely no jealousy will arise. The belt is in place.
2) Take a ball-point pen and gauge out your eyes. Surely no jealousy will arise. You can’t see anything.
3) Masking tape over your ears, as to avoid your girlfriend telling your about her new million dollar mansion. Surely no jealousy will arise. Bonus – free ear hair waxing!
No. These won’t work.
Try as we might, we can’t really change society. Or our sinful nature. We can lobby against magazine ads that portray super skinny women to be the norm. We can tell our children to avoid those situations that bring up feelings of jealousy. We can volunteer 1,982 hours of community service to our church – you know, so that God will release us from our sins.
I’m sorry, but none of that will really work. Maybe for a second. But not really.
TRUTH – It is in our very nature to compare, to judge, to sin, to be jealous. To say that YOU can do anything to take yourself above this imperfection is incorrect.
And that’s why we need God.
(Cynics and unbelievers might roll their eyes at that statement. And I suppose that is why they are cynics and unbelievers.)
We rely on Him to help us. For HIM to make us better, and not ourselves. Surely by now, we know that we cannot do this alone. Surely. I feel like I’ve fallen so many times before and it’s only when I give up my own ambitions to “fix it” that God starts working in and through me. He fixes it. He works through me. It is only HE who can take the sin of jealousy, envy, greed, idolatry, etc from me.
Annette shared an amazing quote in her comment on yesterday’s post (that, ironically, I read WHILE writing this post):
“We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against SIN, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.” -Jeffrey Holland
How very true.
So back to the STINKING THINKING. How can WE change it? Surely we can do something!
First, the second that those negative thoughts pop into our heads, we must TAKE THEM CAPTIVE.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says this:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
The progression would go something like this:
- Thought pops.
- Realize/recognize it.
- Grab it.
- Be done with it.
The thoughts WILL pop – that’s how it works. But it’s our job to take hold of them, recognize them for what they are (our sinful nature) and then push them out. To do so takes AWARENESS and PRACTICE on our part. You’ll get better with the “gun draw” on taking these thoughts and turning them around. (<-side note – this was one way I overcame a 4 year addiction to purging!)
TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE.
This will be a great first step. You’re not asking for someone else to change what THEY’RE doing – you’re changing yourself. Because really, we can only control ourselves in the end. OUR thoughts, OUR words, OUR actions.
I believe this is what they call being an adult.
QUESTION: Do you find it hard to “TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE”? Do you find that it takes practice?