Do you ever become jealous? Or get competitive? Most people do.
These are problems of insecurity that come from trying to find our value in the things we have, the way we look, or what we do. This is the way of our culture which says, “Blessed are the rich, the good looking, and the successful because they have what the best that the world has to offer.”
Who is Really Well Off?
But Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor and the shy because the kingdom of the heavens is open to them.” But don’t stop there. He would also say, “Blessed are the rich, the good looking, and the successful because the kingdom of the heavens is open to them.” In other words, the great opportunity of anyone’s life is to be alive in God’s kingdom—whatever circumstance they might find themselves in. (See Matthew 5:3-10 and Luke 6:20-23).
If you’re rejoicing in the smile of Christ the King then you won’t be overcome by jealousy or selfish ambition when you see someone who looks to be fortunate. Instead you’ll want to share the blessings of Christ that you’re enjoying. You’ll naturally and routinely “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
Be a Friend of the Bridegroom
John the Baptist’s disciples became jealous and competitive when they saw that Jesus’ disciples were baptizing more people than them. John replied along these lines, “Jesus is the Bridegroom and the people are his bride, so of course they want to go to him! I am the friend of the Bridegroom and it’s my great joy to stand at his side, give him praise, and encourage everyone to go to him. Jesus must increase and I must decrease!” (John 3:29-30, paraphrase).
Oh to be a friend of the Bridegroom! There is no greater joy than to draw people closer to Jesus! That’s why we need to eliminate selfish ambition and the insecurity that underlies it by discovering the treasure of God’s kingdom.
A Breath Prayer Exercise
Here’s a Breath Prayer to help us cultivate the faith, humility, and generosity of John the Baptist: “More of Jesus… Less of me” (based on John 3:30).
As you breathe in, appreciate Jesus… As you breathe out, let go of the sin, striving, stress, or whatever it is that distracts you from Jesus…
It helps to name whatever it is in your life that crowds out Jesus, even to imagine that struggle as you pray: “More of Jesus… Less of me…”
Breathing in, “More of Jesus…” Breathing out, “Less of my striving…” (or worrying or trying to please people or…)
More Soul Shepherding
Here are some of wonderful promises of the blessing for those who open their heart to God and find their true Identity in Christ.
Also, here are my favorite Breath Prayers from the Bible. They are easy to memorize and carry with you as you go about your day. So delightful and transformational to pray from your heart.