Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bitterness, Jealously, and Pedestals

People often tell me how lucky I am to have ‘everything always work out for me’ to the point that if I claim I am about to be homeless, they shrug it off as God always takes care of me so I’ll be fine. Yes, that is true, but it doesn’t mean life comes easy for me. Quite the opposite, I am on my knees continuously praying for God’s provision and thanking Him for all he has blessed me with.

Yet I am guilty of being jealous, even bitter, over friends who appear to have the ‘perfect life’. Everything appears to come easy for them. In fact, they seem to live not only sin-free lives, but temptation-free as well! Of course, I know that is not true. I have to constantly evaluate my motives when interacting with them since I unintentionally place them on a pedestal, believing they have no clue ‘what real life is like’.

While we are not to have idols or envy others, we do need mentors. Like everything else, we must look to God to help us keep a balanced perspective. After all, people on high pedestals tend to be there only by reaching relentlessly for God.
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Most of us would rather say, "Don't follow me, follow Christ!" We are too aware of our own inconsistencies and failures to set ourselves up as models for the Christian life. But this was Paul's way. He said to the Corinthians, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Cor 11:1). Paul was well aware that the imitation of Christ needs to be illustrated in the experience of our peers. Without mentors who show us what it means to follow Christ in the rough-and-tumble of our contemporary world, imitation of Christ often seems an otherworldly, unattainable ideal. But when someone like ourselves gives us a living model to follow, we have a tangible, realizable pattern to guide us. – IVP New Testament Commentary

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