This monster has often had the best of me! It's vigorous, ferocious, and relentless. When it attacks, it gets under my skin. I can't think straight. My vision becomes cloudy. I get moody, depressed, and discouraged. I am certain there is no bigger bogeyman. Not Godzilla, not the Mummy, not ghouls, goblins, zombies -- not even the Cookie Monster can wreak havoc like this behemoth. Yes, I'm talking Envy, that un-jolly green giant that struts across my heart stirring up discontentment with every heavy footstep.
Envy commands an army of pawns: Car Envy, House Envy, Job Envy, Spouse Envy . . . his line of troops seems endless!
For years my biggest foe has been Gift Envy. Too many times I look at the gifts of great leaders and great teachers and secretly wish to be that good -- which isn't good. No sooner do I start comparing then I start loosing . . . my confidence, my effectiveness, and especially my happiness. The fountain of joy is polluted when Envy wades through.
So how do we take down the green-eyed Gift Monster? One way to attack is to acknowledge and accept the work of God, the Gift Giver. Paul writes,
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ESV)
God assigns the gifts we possess. When we understand this truth, we can accept ourselves and cheer each other on! We do so because we know that God in his wisdom purposely--not indiscriminately--pulled our gifts from his divine storehouse and tailor-fit them to our lives.
Have you been in a struggle with Gift Envy? It's time, with God's help, to destroy that monster. Stop comparing. Instead start discovering and developing the gift God has given you.
STAY FOCUSED TODAY: Take inventory of the gift God has given you. Thank Him for it. Your gift is tailor-fit. Then take a few minutes to affirm God's spiritual gift in someone you know. If you are not sure what your gift is, take some time to examine Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4.