WE OFTEN ALLOW OUR LIVES TO GET CLOGGED WITH ENVY, JEALOUSY AND OTHER KINDS OF ROTTENNESS. IT’S TIME TO TOSS OUT THE LEFTOVERS!
shocks people to learn that my five kids consume about two gallons of
milk and a loaf of bread–every single day. That’s why trips to our
local grocery store are quite the adventure for me. I’m always pretty
pleased with myself when I don’t pass out after the cashier announces
the total amount I owe.
Most of the time cashiers and bag boys
have no idea I’m buying just one week’s worth of groceries. They
automatically assume I’m stockpiling for some impending disaster. But
they’re not totally off-base. The impending disaster comes as I try to
fit an aisle’s worth of groceries into a tenth-of-an-aisle-sized
OUT WITH THE OLD
my last shopping adventure, my 10-year-old daughter, Allie, helped with
the putting-away process. “Mom,” she said, “I can’t get all the new
groceries to fit in the refrigerator with all this other stuff in here.”
So I suggested she make some room by throwing out food that had gone
She looked at me with fear and doom in her eyes. “You mean you want me to clean out the refrigerator?” she asked.
glanced over as she slowly removed and opened the first plastic
container, handling it like a vial of toxic waste. “Mom, there’s
something in here…” she said, with a frightened, then a disgusted, and
finally a sort of amazed look on her face. “I have no idea what this
“Probably some leftovers,” I said reassuringly. But as I
studied the contents myself, I realized I had no idea what it was
either. Do you know how unnerving it is to find leftovers growing in
your fridge and have no clue what they’re left over from?
“Could it be a chicken?” Allie asked. “I think I see a beak.”
both shuddered, and Allie quickly dropped the container and its
contents into the wastebasket. We also tossed a brown, slimy bag that
must have been lettuce in another life, some spaghetti that seemed to
have made its own meatballs, and a little surprise butter dish that
contained something that was definitely not butter. Before long all the
old junk had been thrown away and the fridge was filled with fresh new
I don’t think Allie was too traumatized by the
ordeal–but come to think of it, she’s stopped eating anything with
chicken in it.
MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW
entire episode made me think about how much we can “miss” spiritually
when we hang on to old things that are rotten. The Lord wants to supply
the new, but we tend to hang on to fleshly old stuff.
for instance, can be as putrid as month-old chicken. Left alone, it will
mold and ferment just like that container of “whatever” Allie found. It
can squeeze out the peace that’s ready and waiting “in the grocery
Isn’t it sad to imagine God the Father saying, “Oops, no
place in here for this peace. The bag’s too full of rottenness.”
Proverbs 14:30 (NIV) says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but
envy rots the bones.” (Is it just me or are you also picturing a
petrified chicken bone?)
Jealousy and envy start to grow when we
stop celebrating the success of others. We allow a rejoicing opportunity
to mold into selfishness, wondering why we didn’t receive the blessing
instead of someone else.
Make room for peace. Make room for Jesus.
Him fill every corner of your heart. He brings with His peace the whole
list of fruit from Galatians 5:22–love, joy, goodness and all the
This fruit doesn’t need preservatives–it never shrivels,
never rots, never even needs a seal-and-burp container. Plus, it’s
healthy and gives life to our bodies. Now those are the kinds of
provisions we really need!
Galatians 5:19-21 lists the rotten
things that God’s fruit can replace. Paul named them “the acts of the
sinful nature.” Jealousy appears in verse 20 and envy in verse 21.
some good news to store up: As we make room for Jesus and stockpile His
virtues, we begin to automatically chuck jealousy, envy and the like.
Even after God stuffs His long and wonderful list of virtues into our
lives, there’s still plenty of room left over for more goodness!
Sorry, did I say, “left over”? Don’t worry–it has nothing to do with moldy chicken.
would do us all good to take this wise counsel to heart: “But if you
harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast
about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven
but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
“For where you have
envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil
practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good
fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a
harvest of righteousness” (James 3:14-18).
is the author of Amusing Grace, published by Cook Communications. Her
writing has appeared in several magazines, including HomeLife, Parent
Life and Today’s Christian Woman.