Common Notes 1.14.20

In case you missed it, Common Ground started back last night and we had a great time worshipping together and eating pizza at Gusano’s afterword. Here’s a short take on the message:

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison).

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John 3:22-30

At some point or other, the green eyed-monster called jealousy effects us all. A friend gets a promotion, the neighbor gets a new car, someone else has more talent, better looks or a bigger bank account and you wish it could be you. More often than not it’s the sin of comparison, of wanting what others have because it seems better than what you’ve got. That’s the case here. John the Baptist’s disciples see that Jesus is drawing bigger crowds and they’re jealous, so they turn to their leader and complain. Check out how John responds though. He doesn’t commiserate. He doesn’t regret testifying to the identity of the Messiah. Instead he gives us a clinic on how to deal with issues of envy. He knows his role and relishes in it.

Here’s 5 ways to deal with jealously when it touches your life…

  1. Check your attitude. Writing about this passage, theologian Grant Osborne said, “The divine plan is everything…” John the Baptist gets that. Do you? What are you actually envious of? Is it worthy?
  2. Know your role and do your job. God placed you, gifted you and equipped you to do what he wants YOU to do, not what he wants for or from someone else. John the Baptist had a job to do and he stayed in his lane. That’s sound strategy!
  3. Celebrate Kingdom wins. John the Baptist rejoices that the Christ has come. Yes, it came at his expense, but ITS A KINGDOM WIN! #sacrifice #worthit
  4. Recognize Σκύβαλον (Philippians 3:8). Pronounced “scubala,” it is the strongest word for human excrement in the Greek language, and yes, Paul uses it. There is treasure and there is trash, worry about heavenly treasure, not worldly scubala.
  5. Pray. Because prayer is never the wrong answer and we rarely use it enough.
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