Have you ever wanted what someone else had? Or maybe, have you wanted to be who someone else was?
Oh, envy. It’s an ugly burden to bear.
I'm sure you know what it’s like to be envious but rarely take the time to question it. You may consider jealousy to be a natural feeling, an unchangeable part of life. You might think it is something entirely out of your control.
In reality, you probably don’t think much of it at all.
I know that’s how I have always viewed this subject...but I don’t think that way any more.
A couple months ago, I sat on a balcony and stared straight west towards the beautiful Colorado Rockies. The world around me seemed so peaceful and perfect with the rays of the sun peeking out above the mountaintops and reflecting in the still waters of the pond just ahead.
But oh, the irony… At that moment, while nature appeared to revel in its peace, the turmoil inside of me continued on.
I’m not quite sure what it was that tipped me over the edge. All I know is this: as I sat there, I fully admitted (for the first time) to the intense envy that I felt deep inside my heart.
I was disgusted by it, but I didn’t know how to get rid of it. I wanted that envy out.
I prayed. I cried. And I questioned (myself or God, I’m not sure), “How can I be so envious of a person I love so much?”
Nothing changed despite the fact that I admitted the jealousy was there.
The next morning, I sat down over breakfast to read my Bible, and I felt that envy almost as powerfully as I had the night before. Rather than opening the Word, I began to journal my prayer, crying out to God through the pen and page, asking him to literally transform the state of my heart.
And as I wrote, it was as though God directly placed a thought into my mind:
“Read Ephesians 5,” He said.
Previously, I memorized the book of Ephesians for a Scripture memory scholarship.
I do not say this to brag, because if you asked me to recite it now, I know for a fact I couldn’t make it through verse one. But, while I apparently didn’t learn the book well enough for it to stick word-for-word, God has completely used the hours I spent memorizing for good because I know the book enough to remember the overarching idea of each section.
So as I sat with my journal open in the college cafeteria, struggling with jealousy that I didn’t want but clearly had, God used my previous knowledge of Ephesians to say, “Sam, what you memorized a few months ago, you need that now. Go back and read it again.”
And this, my friends, is why we memorize Scripture.
It’s not something I’m good at doing regularly at all. I wish I could say differently. So I write this to you and me both: There is so much value in having portions of Scripture hidden away in our hearts.
Because, when life is crazy and wisdom is ever-so-needed, the words we need to hear will already be there in the back of our minds—and if not word-for-word, at least we’ll know where to look them up.
God speaks through his Word. Memorizing is sort of like our way of saying, “I’m listening, God. Whatever you’re going to tell me through your Word—I’m putting it into my heart and mind for good. I’m listening.”
So, all that said, that’s exactly what happened during breakfast a couple months ago.
He used the Scripture I had previously memorized to speak to the exact situation I was going through at the time.
And with only a broad sense of what I was getting myself into, I flipped over to Ephesians 5 and started reading from the beginning. He had made it so clear that this chapter had something I needed to hear, and it didn’t take long to find what it was…
Part Two is coming on Wednesday!
God taught me a lot that week, and it’s ended up to be too much for one post! Also, while the topic of jealousy was my main reason for writing, I had to take a little detour and mention that part on Scripture memorization. I’ll be more focused in Part 2, I promise! I hope you’ll come back to continue the story :)