This year has been about purifying my motives.
Actually, that has been the case for much longer. It has just become more obvious this year.
If you have been following the blog over the past few months, you know what I’m talking about. If not, here’s what you missed:
A few weeks ago, I decided to be re-baptized for the same reason. Before I had truly ever come to trust Jesus, I was baptized once in order to satisfy the clique I was trying to fit in with. The second time was when I had been drawn into a legalistic church–actually, let’s call it what it is: a cult. Yup. Legalism is a cult.
When I finally came to Christ, being baptized again came to mind, but it wasn’t a priority. It had been done, and twice. What was more important was the actual strengthening of my faith in Christ. Considering that I’d just come from legalism, too, I wasn’t exactly anxious to fill out a new list of things to do.
Prior to truly following Christ, I’d attended a pretty traditional Christian school, which is part of the legalism I had to break from to truly see who Christ is. But despite the legalism, I walked away with a ton of New Testament knowledge, albeit my conclusions ended up being different from the school’s on a lot of points, and albeit I hadn’t truly put my faith in Him beyond knowing the facts, not to mention my motives were so wrong. By the time I came to Christ, a lot of the questions I had were answered. The simple truth was that the lies still had to be purged. At that point, I was 17 years into believing a lot of lies about Christ, and while my false beliefs fell at His feet immediately for the most part, they left behind a lot of fears, and my new faith would have to take root before those fears could be cast out of me.
I knew my motives had been wrong for a long time, but I had no idea how deep they ran. I had no idea how many layers there were to it. Through all the complications of a messed up home, a messed view of people, a messed up view of family, a messed up view of love, beneath it all there has always been this messed up view of myself, of God, of His love. And that’s the simple part.
The more messed up experiences I had with family, with classmates, with relationships, the more layers separated me from being able to see God clearly, even though I had a ton of facts about Him rattling around in my head like beads in a shaker. I wasn’t capable of having the right motives because I spent all my life separated from He who is the source of all good things. The more separated I was from the truth, the easier it was to blame Him and seek out other solutions. If you’ve read The Adulterer Who Destroyed My Ability to Live in Reality, it’ll start to make sense how I was able to rationalize the place I put myself in. But in the end, my motives were shredded. I no longer cared about what love really is, and settled for merely satisfying moment-to-moment cravings for a good feeling that is expected to come with love (or maybe not love, but with things going right).
I already knew things were messed up, but until that situation imploded, I wasn’t able to see what was really wrong. No other situation reached down to touch the very core of my identity like that. Beneath it all, I was just a jealous kid.
Jealous that others had what I thought I deserved.
Jealous that others felt what I wanted to feel.
Jealous that others could go where I wish I could have.
Jealous that others were seen when I was invisible.
Jealous that others… all of it.
Jealousy is pointing the finger at someone else and pointing the knife at yourself.
Jealousy is crazy.
But jealousy was real. I hate that it still is my reality
sometimes all too often.
There are a lot of ways to kill yourself without committing suicide, and jealousy is one of them. You blame others for your possessiveness over things you have already taken possession of in your heart, even though nine times out of ten, you have no actual claim to them. Actually, make that ten. Ten times out of ten, because (I hate repeating myself, but it’s appropriate here) everything good comes from God. So if God didn’t give it to you, and you’ve got acid burns through the walls of your heart because someone else has what you want, then it’s probably not good for you to have it.
His timing might be different.
What He wants for you might be different.
But if it’s making you jealous, it’s time to start looking at your heart more than what you’re jealous for.
That’s if it’s jealousy. Sometimes we have longings that are not jealousy, but we need to acknowledge our jealousy when that’s what it is.
Of all the things to kill you, Jesus doesn’t want it to be you. He created your emotions so that you could live out His plan for you, not so that jealousy could burn you up before your time. Sometimes the fire of our souls gets out of control. So call upon the God whose fire cleanses and purifies, not destroys.