In any discussion about taking dominion, the first battle ground is our own hearts. Solomon said "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
We all know of powerful leaders who had no self control. Alexander the Great is said to have drunk himself to death, Hitler was obsessed with chocolate cherries (liqueur-filled), and many politicians have straying eyes and hearts.
This is a huge topic, but no small issue of our heart involves thankfulness. Here I'm going to talk about one of its opposites: envy.
Recently, one of my favorite bloggers, Tim Challies, admitted that he has had a long friendship with envy. The discovery surprised him. It disgusted him. He went on to describe the discovery of envy in himself and in Biblical characters, and God's view of it, how envy behaves and then the desires of envy, and how to kill it.
Webster's defines envy this way:
To feel uneasiness, mortification or discontent, at the sight of superior excellence, reputation or happiness enjoyed by another
I confess that I have made the same foolish choice of friends. Though I did not see it, my envy was in coveting the leadership of men other than my husband. I would read on family life and think that we should order our home in the same way. I told my husband so. As you can imagine, he received this as criticism after criticism; a huge vote of no confidence. Finally he asked me to stop reading those books unless we could read them together.
One book he might not have minded me reading and studying is Shawn Lantz' Bible Study called Living with Unmet Desires.
Using biblical characters, Shawn exposes the many faces of envy or jealousy. Because sin cripples and paralyzes us, it needs to be exposed. And confessed. Shawn takes us deep by identifying four core issues of a jealous heart:
- God, can I trust You?
- God, do You love me?
- God, are You good?
- God, are You just?
Ask yourself what you believe about God. If you want to go deeper, study the Bible. There we see God and ourselves more clearly, and we learn to trust and know God better. Listen to the testimony of Shawn Lantz:
Oh, my sweet friend, God's Word has absolutely changed my life. His Word is the biggest delight of my life. It has brought me such healing in so many places---places I didn't even know needed healing. I respected Christ before, I was even afraid of Him and His wrath, but I have since fallen in love with Him.... It's the only relationship I have that gives me more to give to everyone else. I can never get to the bottom of Him. He is the most exciting, creative, beautiful, romantic, holy Being I have ever encountered and I am crazy about Him.
I am thankful that God exposed my ungratefulness and envy, and gave me grace to see things from my husband's perspective. Envy and I have been friends too long and I am plotting murder. If I am to rule my home well, God must be my portion. No one satisfies like him. Discontent comes from wanting people to be God to me. And intense joy comes in trusting that it is in perfect wisdom and justice that God has ordered my life. He has gracious, eternal purposes in calling me to rule in this house, with this good man, and these dear children.
Taking dominion starts with keeping the heart. For God.