Christianity 201

February 1, 2020

Be Happy When Others Are Happy; If They’re Sad, Share Their Sorrow

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Today we’re introducing a new writer to you who came recommended. Heather Adams is a Christian author, and speaker in New England. She’s been on WordPress since 2014. You can learn more about her at Heather Adams Worship Walk. This article, and the bonus article which follows, were sourced at her blog, Worship Walk Ministries. The two shorter items here are very much inter-connected.

Worship Walk: Comparison

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.” Romans 12:15-16

I have a confession to make, and it’s not pretty.  I’ve not been as generous in spirit as I ought to be when others get something I want. There, I said it!

We all face moments of watching a friend or co-worker, or co-minister get an opportunity we ourselves would like. The question is, how do we respond in that moment? My confession gives you a hint about my default: either self-pity (what about me?) or frustration (it’s not fair!).

The thing is, thinking that way has never made me feel one bit better about the situation. I actually end up worse off, because I know enough about God to know that it grieves Him when I rebel. Yes, rebel.

To struggle with rejoicing at someone else’s good news means I’m doing some comparing between us, assuming I come up short. I’m also questioning God’s decision, wondering why He didn’t choose to bless me that way.

I do have a praise about this, though. Lately, the Holy Spirit has been working in me to soften my hard towards God and others. In fact, it’s getting easier to truly give thanks for the good gifts that God gives someone besides me. And when I can let go of myself for a moment, it really does feel like a celebration!

I don’t do many New Year’s resolutions, but this one keeps coming to mind: that rejoicing with others when they receive blessing needs to become my new default mindset. God wants that for me, and He’ll do it in me.


Worship Walk: Envy

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

That’s a pretty strong statement. Just that word “rots” evokes such an image doesn’t it? And other translations use language that’s just as harsh: “jealousy is like a cancer in the bones” (NLT), or “envy can eat you up” (CEV).

Unfortunately, I can attest to the truth of this idea. Early on in life I became very good at comparing myself against other people, always coming up short. My thought pattern then led me to feelings of jealousy and envy towards others. Trying to ignore or dismiss those feelings didn’t get rid of them. They settled in each time, chipping away at my self-esteem.

But I’m convinced now, that my physical body suffered as well as my heart. Letting jealousy into my spirit brought a whole host of other negative emotions, like resentment, frustration and even anger. And it’s been proven scientifically that any of those can hurt our bodies in any number of ways.

It’s important to realize that beyond being bad for us, letting envy and jealousy take hold is sinful. When we covet something someone else has or does, it is showing a lack of contentment and trust in God. Sin of any kind is destructive to us and our relationship with our Lord.

King David wrote about this idea. In Psalm 32, he gives us a vivid description of how being separated from God affected his whole being:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Psalm 32:3-4

David goes on in this song to give us the way out, and it starts with confession. His agony turns to rejoicing because he knows that when he turns back to God the relationship will be restored – he will be restored. The next step is repenting – making a decision to turn from those sinful feelings and thoughts.

Following David’s example will bring us to a place of healing and even better, renewal of heart, mind and body.


Again, click the individual titles to visit Heather’s blog.

February 28, 2012

Success of Significance?

I’ve always said I would rather be effective than be successful. But I’ve never heard anyone else express this sentiment until I came across Counting My Blessings, the blog of Deb Wolf, where this appeared just a few days ago as Would You Rather Be Successful or Significant?

Successful is defined as – having attained wealth, position, honors, or the like.

Significant is defined as – important or of consequence.

So, would you rather be successful or significant? 

This question came to mind as I read Ecclesiastes 4:4 –

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

I used to think the Book of Ecclesiastes was majorly depressing. Solomon stating again and again that, “it’s all meaningless – like chasing the wind.”

But then I read the end of the book, Ecclesiastes 12:13 –

 After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey His commands, because this is all that we were created for.

Accomplishing that for which we were created is success. Certainly not the world’s definition of success, not even the dictionary’s definition but I believe the best definition.

What are God’s commands? When Jesus was asked to name the most important commandments He replied:

 “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:27-29

Loving God. Loving others. Success and Significance. 

Not what is normally thought of as success or significance, but for those of who follow Christ the best definition of both.

That’s what I’m thinking about. What do you think?

~Deb Wolf