Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

4 Bitter or Blessed – Part 2

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Psalms 73:1-5, 21-28

“1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. 2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing.     My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. 4 They seem to live such painless live; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 28 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”

The longer Asaph soaked in the juices of jealousy the more he struggles with self-pity, and pity will cause you to question whether your walk with God is worth it, verse 13 “Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?     Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?” Converting not only consumed it corrupted his thinking, the longer he lingers in the lies the less he likes his life. The more he entertains envy the more his perception is perverted, so much so that when he looks at his own life all he sees are problem where with others all he can see is their prosperity, verse 12 “Look at these wicked people enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply, 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.” It’s the poor me pity party syndrome where I get the bad while they are getting blessed. The problem is that it’s not based in reality but in resentment, this is a byproduct of bitterness. In verse 16 we see that Asaph being a Godly man knew that his thinking wasn’t right, so he tried to reason through it in his mind, “So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper, but what a difficult task it is!” There is an important lesson here for us to learn, human logic is limited. The more that he thought about it the less life made sense, and life will never make sense when you try to analyze it through human understanding and worldly wisdom. That is why Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” and Romans 12:2 says, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  As well as 1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind” The battle begins in the mind and every battle that you face in this life will be won or lost on the battlefield of your mind. What we believe is birthed through our behavior.  Asaph was in a mental battle, he was torn in his thinking until verse 21 “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant—    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.” Bitterness breeds brutes, we become animals of anger, it doesn’t just trash our thinking it turns us into beasts. Asaph didn’t like the way he was acting, he didn’t like the way he was speaking, he didn’t like the way that he was responding and he did not like the person that he was becoming. As converting clouded his thinking he started to lose the battle of the mind, and when you lose the battle in your mind then you’ll lose the battle of your heart. Dissatisfaction didn’t just lead to being disgruntled it led to defeat. It was only when he came to his senses and sought the sanctuary of God that he had understanding, verse 17 “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.” It was a return to worship that refocused Asaph, worship puts our worries and our wants into perspective. Praise puts a proper perspective on problems, he went from whining to worship. Without worship we quickly lose track of our true treasure, worth is not found in the wealth of this world but in the One who spoke the Word and brought forth the world, verse 25 “Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.” What do you desire most, being in His presence or the possessions of this world? Are you striving for stuff or seeking His sanctuary? We will always be desperate for that which we desire. When we lose focus on the true desire of our heart life becomes a headache, we try to find our worth and meaning in our lot instead of in His love. It’s not about what I have it’s who I have that matters; you may not have gold but if you have God then all is good. When we stray from His house we become susceptible to the sin of jealousy and easily envious. But when we come into God’s house there is healing. It is in His house that we find victory and joy, peace and provision, comfort and contentment, deliverance and direction, life and love, mercy and meaning. Are you living in the house of the Lord or in the den of deception and lies? Do you desire to dwell with Him in His house? Psalms is filled with a longing for the Lord’s house:

Psalm 26:8 says, “I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glorious presence dwells.”

Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”

Psalm 92:13 “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”

Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

Psalms 84:4 “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You.”

Psalms 84:10 “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

When Asaph went to the house of the Lord he regained his focus, he realized what God had done for him and he returned to rejoicing. Once he regained his focus the fog of envy faded away and his resentment was replaced with thanksgiving. Are you struggling in the fog of self-focus, a what about me mentality? Then seek God, this is a return to relationship, living life with the Lord. When you do your wants will turn to worship, your jealousy to joy and your pouting to peace.

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