from my devotion - February 13, 2012
1 Corinthians 12

Sometimes I struggle with pride.   When I actually pause to trace the root of the struggle back to its beginning, I often find that it comes from FRUIT ENVY.  

FRUIT ENVY = the unhealthy desire of someone else’s God-given gifts, talents, blessings, or success.  Fruit envy can lead to some nasty side effects:
-  Becoming critical toward the person you actually admire
- Becoming critical about yourself
- Over compensating in other areas
- Beginning to serve from a “results-based” mindset rather than allowing Christ’s living water to flow and work through you

Fruit Envy stinks…almost literally.   It’s kind of like a gardner admiring the trees his neighbor has been pruning over time.  Rather than planting and pruning his own tree, the gardener might sneak over and grab a few of the fruits that have fallen off the healthy tree.  Taking some good old-fashioned duct tape, the gardner attaches the ripened fruit to his own plant.  Perfect….right?  Of course not.  In a matter of hours, the duct tape tree is going to be a messy, slimy, counterfeit mess.  If we’re not careful to understand our gifts rather than copying those around us, our churches begin looking a little…unnatural.

The scripture celebrates the diversity of the gifts God has given His church.  In 1 Corinthians 12 we’re reminded that we are never given gifts so that we can impress others.  Rather, they are given for the purpose of serving the church to the glory of God.  The next time you struggle with pride…trace it back.  

[Sometimes pride says, “I’m the best.”  Most of the time pride says, “I’m the worst.]  Christianity says, "Jesus is the best, and I belong to Him.”

1 Corinthians 12:18 - “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 

How to you fight Gift Envy?
Work to implement authentic community in your life.  It’s really hard to be envious of someone that you are praying for and spending time with
- Encourage people’s efforts, but always give the glory of God
- Stay Kingdom Minded  (I want every ministry to grow bigger than mine…as long is mine is growing.  We’re fighting the DEVIL - not each other)
- Don’t live for compliments.  In a subtle way, when someone compliments you, give glory to God.  Allow God to give you your reward…He’s a lot better at it! 

Aaron is the pastor of Spring of Life, a new church in Portland, Oregon. He's the owner of Amplify Creative.