The Jealous Can Wait (Psalm 37)
Reading: Psalm 37
…be not envious of wrongdoers! …Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. …Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Have you ever wished that you weren’t a Christian? No? Perhaps you’ve wished you weren’t a Christian yet. I’ll be honest—I have. Let me tell you why. It’s nothing good.
I have found myself wishing that I didn’t have to live by the ethics of the kingdom because that would leave me free to do, well, frankly whatever I wanted. I’m not really proud of this desire, but it’s true nonetheless. Sometimes I’m actually jealous of those who have the freedom to live however they choose.
Of course, it’s not really freedom, though is it? No, it isn’t. Instead, it’s slavery to sin. One Christian ministry worker—I heard her say one time that we are fooled into thinking that we are our deepest desires, and that if we can just fulfill those desires, we’d finally be who we truly are. “But,” she went on to say, “I was just as often let down and even harmed by fulfilling my desires as I was satisfied with fulfilling them.” It seems the heart wants what it wants but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
That’s why it requires faith, that’s why we’re called believers. We believe that the Lord has our best interest at heart. We’ve even experienced it as we’ve found new relationship with him in Jesus Christ, and new experience with him through the Holy Spirit. We have a new identity and a new ethic. But watching the wicked prosper and the faithful suffer—it can make it hard not to be jealous sometimes.
And that’s why we need revelation. That’s why we need a sure word from God that points forward to what’s to come. We need a promise that justice will be done and that our faithfulness is not in vain. To that word, we must cling while “we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).
Father, sometimes I look at unbelievers who get to do whatever they want and I’m jealous. I wish that I could do those things. And I get a bit downcast. But that doesn’t honor you. First, it doesn’t take into account all the treasures that are laid up for me in heaven. But also, it doesn’t recognize the sacrifice that you endured in order to save me. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.