Friday, July 13, 2007

Luke #11 – No Jealousy, Just Joy

Luke #11 – No Jealousy, Just Joy

“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord’” (Luke 1:41-45 – King James Version).

A study group in my congregation was watching a video when the speaker mentioned that thousands of people were being converted to Christ in China. One of the members of our group is only months away from heading to China for a mission trip. When the speaker on the video mentioned the thousands of conversions I immediately looked toward our member to see her reaction. I was worried that she may feel some sort of pressure to produce results of that magnitude. My fears were immediately allayed; instead of seeming overwhelmed by such a monumental task of participating in that mission trip to China she REJOICED that God was doing a great work in China. As a matter of fact, her reaction was one of pure joy and elation.

After the angel visited Mary she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth. Can you imagine how Mary must have felt? She might have imagined that the preceding events were too unreal to have happened. It was a good move to go visit her older, wiser cousin who had walked with God for many years.

Elisabeth was no stranger to the magnificent power and ways of God. She MUST have been a woman of great faith. When God told her husband that they would have a child in their old age Zacharias acted in unbelief and God took away Zacharias’ ability to speak because of his unbelief. Elisabeth, on the other hand, reacted to her miraculous impregnation with rejoicing, believing God to do the miracle (1:25). The lesson we can learn from this is to go to more experienced Christians to seek counsel and encouragement. People who have walked in the faith longer than ourselves can often share their experiences of how God has moved in their lives and that can help us to see that God wants to do amazing things in US as well.

Another lesson we can learn from this is humility. The OLDER Elisabeth freely admitted that she was awed that God was so good in allowing the mother of Jesus to come and visit her. Was Mary better than Elisabeth? No; that was not the case. Elisabeth simply recognized that the great hand of God was at work and she was humbled to even be near such an amazing act of God. Whether in us, around us, or anywhere near us, when God is letting us see or participate in His glorious work we should be humbled by the privilege. It is commonplace for God to be at work around us; after all, He’s God and He desires to draw people to Himself. What should never become commonplace is our reaction to witnessing that work; we should be humbly moved and appreciative.

Lastly, I could not help but notice that Elisabeth was not jealous when she heard Mary’s news. I probably would have been. Elisabeth had waited YEARS to become pregnant and she miraculously was. It was her time to shine! Here comes YOUNG Mary; tender in years, yet pregnant already. To top it off, it was NO ordinary pregnancy but Mary enjoyed the great honor of bearing the child of the Holy Spirit. Here we find the ingredients to rid ourselves of jealousy; instead of envying Mary, Elisabeth rejoiced at the good news Mary came to share. Whenever we hear of God blessing someone or that God is doing amazing things in a person or church’s life, we should rejoice. Rejoicing WITH someone will prevent us from being jealous OVER them.

Seek out and listen to others’ experiences with God. Be humbled that God lets you see and hear such things. Rejoice over God’s moving rather than being jealous that the same is not happening to you. Good news is good news and we should always rejoice in that; whether it is our good news or someone else’s, anything truly good is from OUR good God. Rejoice, I say, rejoice!

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