“Let not your heart envy sinners; but be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.”

Proverbs 23:17

Listening to and looking at others or our circumstances will lead to disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment and despair; but by continually “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2) we’ll learn what it means to “delight ourselves in the Lord” (Ps. 37:4).

“The eyes have it.”

Although that phrase is sometimes used in a vote in the form of “The ‘I’s” have it,” today’s Manna is a reminder for us to stay focused upon the Lord rather than others or what’s happening around us.  As Warren Wiersbe said one day, “If you look at others, you’ll be distressed.  If you look at yourself, you’ll be depressed.  But, if you’ll look to Jesus, you’ll be blessed.”

How true, how true.

Carnal comparison—i.e., a “comparing of notes”—with what’s happening to us and what’s not happening to the ungodly will soon lead to the pit of perplexity and despair.  The Psalmist Asaph knew all about that when he penned the “Psalm of Perplexity” (Ps. 73).  Who of us has not found ourselves in his shoes at one time or the other:  About down for the count (v.2). . .  envious of the foolish (v.3). . .watching them prosper while we falter (vv.4-9). . .and seeing nothing happen to them while we seem to be continually opposed (vv.10-14)?

The answer is “All of us,” if we’re truly a born-again child of God.

Yet, Solomon’s words echo Asaph’s and remind us of the importance of not letting our “heart envy (Heb. ‘qana’—‘jealous, be filled with ire, provoked to anger, desirous of, etc.’) sinners.”  Instead, we should “be in the fear (Heb. ‘yir ‘ah’—‘reverence, deep respect for, etc.’) of the Lord all the day long.”

And, this can only come as we get alone with God and allow Him to give us new perspective on Who He is, who we are and what’s really happening with those around us (Ps. 73:16-24).  Only then will we break forth with praise by crying “Whom have I in Heaven but Thee?  And there’s none upon earth that I desire besides Thee!  My heart and my flesh may fail; but God is the Strength of my heart and my Portion forever” (vv.25-26).  Hallelujah!!

Oh, dear Pilgrim, spend some time today “chewing the fat” on Prov. 23, for its verses are filled with sage, Heavenly wisdom on living a righteous life in a spiritually dark world.  Too often are faith is lacking in pragmatic application; yet, such is so important if we are to truly be the “salt and light in the world” that Jesus commanded us to be (Mt. 5:13-16).

So how goes the battle, dear Soldier-of-the-Cross?

Are you “more than a conqueror through Him Who loved you and gave Himself for you” (Rom. 8:37; Titus 2:13-14)?  Or, have you begun “growing weary in well-doing” (Gal. 6:9a) and wondering “What’s the use?”

Remember: The “Race of Faith” (II Tim. 4:7-8) is a marathon, not a sprint.  And, that’s why we must constantly “lay aside, run patiently and keep looking” (Heb. 12:1-2).  Only then will we both endure and excel.  May you feel a quickening in your spirit today as you realize the Holy Spirit is using EVERYTHING in your life for your good and His Glory (Rom. 8:28).

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 24, 2010

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