The problem with comparing our lives to others can be traced to our hearts that produce the comparison. When we desire the life someone else has, we are saying in our heart that the gifts God has given us just aren’t enough. Our discontentment, jealousy, and bitterness points a finger at God and tells him that he has gotten the story of our life wrong, and we can write it better. Like the Israelites, we grumble and complain and say that the manna he gives us every day is tasteless, the water of life we drink isn’t refreshing, and we’d rather be back in Egypt, enslaved and under a heavy yoke.
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Nathan W. Bingham:
Ultimate satisfaction and contentment is found only in God. It is alienation from our Creator, caused by our sin, that results in all discontentment, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. In being reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ, the problem at the core of every human being is solved. By God’s grace, satisfaction is possible in spite of circumstances, material possessions, or worldly accolades because we find our satisfaction in Him.
Sometimes we’re to eager to predict the doom and destruction of the church. Certainly there are problems afoot–have been since the apostles. But the Lord is faithful to His Church and He gives gifted men to lead and bless her. As I reflect on my recent travels, I’m greatly encouraged that the Lord’s Church is in the hands of some very faithful and extraordinary shepherds. We may not know them all, but that doesn’t mean they’re ordinary in some non-descript, run-of-the-mill sense.
We tread lightly here, but I fear we vastly underestimate the spiritual damage inflicted on our churches by “How To” sermons without an explicit gospel connection. The Bible is full of practical exhortations and commands, of course, but they are always connected to the foundational and empowering truth of the finished work of Christ. When we preach a message like “Six Steps to _______” or any other “be a better whatever”-type message — where the essential proclamation is not what Christ has done but what we ought/need to do — we become preachers of the law rather than Christ. (And it is not rare that this kind of message with barely any or no mention of Christ(!) at all gets preached.)