How Then Should We Live?

“Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:26. Paul is reminding us that we should not be singing ‘How Great I Art’ as such is not the sign of one who is a follower of Christ. The Message Bible sets this passage out this way, “That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” We need to respect our brothers and sisters in the Lord and not do a comparison as to who is better blessed and who is better loved by God.
God loves no one better than me and no one better than you. He loves us the same and expects us to do the same. It has often been said, “You can like who you want, but you have to love everyone.” Too often Christians are concerned about their blessings rather than being concerned about being a blessing. We think that because we have been blessed in a particular way, we are somehow better than a brother or sister who is not likewise blessed. We should be pleased with our blessings but not to the extent that bragging about them can cause grief to our brothers and sisters. Peter states, “…., and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” I Peter 5:5. The Message Bible translates this as, “God has had it with the proud, But takes delight in just plain people. So be content with who you are , and don’t put on airs.”
Not only are we to be humble is our blessings, but we are not to be envious of those who may be blessed when we are not. The Greek word for ‘envy’ is phthonos–to pine away; the pain felt and malignity conceived at the sight of the blessing of another. Paul says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4. He is basically saying, Don’t be selfish glorying in your own gifts and graces, but be genuinely interested in the blessings of others and rejoice with them in their blessing. If we truly think of ourselves as no better than our brothers and sisters, and if we have no envy in our heart, we will be able to genuinely rejoice in the blessings of our brothers and sisters. This will truly allow us to pass the Gnashing Test. Can we truly rejoice in the blessings of another without gnashing our teeth and grinding our teeth to dust. If the answer is yes, we will be starting on the road to true humility and love of the brethren.
Remember, we compare ourselves to Christ, not to our brothers and sisters. Understanding that will bring much humility in our lives. Our goal is not to be better than the Joneses or to be like the Joneses, our goal is to be like Christ, he is our example, not the Joneses.

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