Envy is an emotion when one seeks the qualities, achievements, or possessions of another person. I looked up to people wishing I had their educational achievements and struggled with feelings of inadequacy. I was not able to go to college with my high school class and instead worked at various jobs for ten years. It was such that I worked extremely hard in college at twenty-seven years of age to overcome those feelings. But something happened which started me down a road of overcoming the search for the status quo. I found a friend in Jesus who accepted me and made me a child of God.
Now, this does not mean as a new Christian I put away the search for the status quo. Soon after graduate school I was working in the hotel industry and doing well. So I had a new car, a new townhouse, and was looking and making plans in five years to leave a townhouse to buy a house costing over $250,000. I also was in the market for a boat since we lived in Virginia Beach. A twenty-seven foot Sea Ray for $27,000 and a pile of debt meant I had made it to the American dream. I was keeping up with the Jones’!
However since I became a Christian, I have learned one valuable lesson:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
I do not need to live my life to meet the expectations of others. I also do not need to dress, drive, or dine according to what others tell me I should do. Major businesses have people who do marketing research to tell us we need their product so our bodies do not smell or we need their product so it will smell nicer. They try to tell me if I drive their car it will be a “chick magnet” or a status symbol to others. When I was younger I wanted a Corvette or a Mustang. Now I have a four cylinder Dodge Journey. It has four less cylinders than my Lincoln, but it has four more cylinders than having no car as I did when I was sixteen. I do not dress to impress because my wife and the Lord both love me.
Many of us over the years purchased home exercise equipment to stem the tide of aging. We colored graying hair and now we have more dates with doctors than our own spouses. The treadmills which once were in our homes may now be places for hanging clothes. The desire for a big house to put stuff in has now come to an understanding that a home is not for placing stuff, but is a repository for the laughs, tears, hopes and dreams of people who love one another.
I no longer need to keep up with the Jones’ because I no longer make them the measure of my life. My life is in Christ and in him I have total acceptance. I am not in a race for things nor am I am I in a search for significance. I am a joint heir with Christ and I am just waiting to inherit eternity.