“Why doesn’t my husband make posts like that about me?”
“Well, isn’t she just the perfect wife. Look at those Bible notes!”
“Well I guess she’s perfect, since she’s asked to do all the Bible studies, and I’m just not as good as her.”
Ouch! Wait – WHAT the what?!
Ugh . . . .
I found myself doing it again. I’d been scrolling on social media – mindlessly, which was my first mistake – and caught myself asking those dreaded comparison questions after I saw a colleague make a proud-husband moment post about his wife and her Bible study preparation.
Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this. Mind just as slack-jawed as can be, thumb-swiping on social media until something trips you up? Not even realizing how much time has gone by when you finally stop – time vortex, anyone? It’s worse than going to the supermarket, amiright?
But this time I wasn’t stopped dead in my tracks for something edifying or encouraging. Without going to battle, it was something that could have caused divisiveness, jealousy, biting or hurtful comments to my husband. It could have festered in my own thoughts as they were directed towards others while the jealousy continued to spread and infect my thoughts and heart like a disease.
So I was glad that the Holy Spirit pricked my heart right then and there, and that I was receptive to stopping and listening.
The conversation went something like this:
Holy Spirit: You are told to evaluate every thought that enters your heart and mind, because your words are the come out of the overflow (2 Corinthians 10:5, Proverbs 4:23).
My Response: This was a brother and sister in Christ! How could I have been thinking those thoughts.
Holy Spirit: And when we are in the peace of God, that peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
My Response: Ugh. I’d just written about peace and joy today, and here I am giving in to being in a bad mood, and I am not peaceful right now. At least I know what I’m doing wrong, right?
Holy Spirit: The words we speak as members of the Body of Christ should edify, reprove, encourage, and build up the rest of the Body of Christ, and ultimately glorify to God.
My Response: So what, then, can I get from this attack that will bring glory to God? Am I doing anything that is not bringing about glory to God? God, renew a right spirit within me – a steadfast spirit – restore your peace and glory so that I am becoming more like You.
I noticed that instead of giving in to the Enemy who was attempting to engage me in battle through comparison, I evaluated myself against God’s Truth. Through that momentary prick of flesh-based jealousy, I remembered a short-coming of my own that God is challenging me to submit to Him.
The Problem Was . . .
In the throes of a busy season of life, I realized I had given myself permission to not study the Word daily as in-depth as I know I’ve been called to. Instead, I denied God the relationship He is calling me to with Him by doing a quick 10-minute read through of a narrative study right before bed. And while there are seasons of life where that’s where He calls us, as we get closer to Him, He calls us to more – deeper.
And y’all, I love studying the Word! I can get lost during my quiet time like nothing else I’ve ever known. I will engage in a conversation with the Holy Spirit over coffee at morning Bible Study, and the next thing I know, it’s lunch time! No joke! And so I had let my to-do list take me away from spending that sweet, sweet time with the Lord. Ouch. Talk about a Come-to-Jesus meeting!
Engage in Battle
Sister, this is the process during prayer by which we learn to turn from our human responses that create conflict and strife. Instead, these attempted battles from the Enemy can be turned around for God’s glory, because He is working EVERY THING for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
This all started with mindless social media scrolling. My mind was not focused on the LORD. It was empty. And I was opening myself up to this vulnerability. We have to ALWAYS be at the ready for battle, sisters! Engaging in thought – evaluating every word, phrase, paragraph – and yes, even MEMEs – against His Truth.
This requires submission. It means you keep your defensive walls broken on the floor, and allow the Holy Spirit to gently bring to your mind things that need to be discussed.
Be silent and still.
The longer we’re out of communion with the Holy Spirit, the more difficult it may be to hear His response – so be patient.
Put your thoughts and emotions under the yoke of Scripture to evaluate them properly.
What Scripture is coming to mind? Do your thoughts line up with God’s Word? Where is the disparity? What is the deeper conflict going on here? What refinement is God asking you to make, what change is He asking you to submit to so that you can be made one more little bit like Him?
Avoid pointing fingers, placing blame, and playing the victim when you do hear what the Holy Spirit is sharing with you. While I could easily have judged my colleague, or accused my husband of not validating me (all of which is hurtful and false), that places the focus on me – which is the opposite of what should be done through this process.
In this refinement process, we glorify the LORD, and in doing so bring glory to His Kingdom as He rewards and blesses our obedience in love. It’s a process we WANT to walk through, not one that He forces us to suffer. And when others see these changes – since our refinement is also meant for the good of the Body by example – they will be encouraged to walk this road also, as it brings us each closer in relationship with the Father.
Ultimately, the goal is to become more like Christ, as we submit to His teachings, guidance, and share those in love. So SUIT UP, SISTER! Engage in battle with the enemy as you live each day for the glory of the Lord!