Sitting in my office typing this blog to you dear friend, I hear the neighbor cutting and weed-eating his grass. Our grass is creeping up as well, and I hear my mind think, “I wish I had their lawn.” I don’t want their lawn because their grass is better, or because they have a better yard. I’m simply coveting that fresh-cut feeling. I’m envying the feeling they will have in an hour as they gaze on their newly manicured lawn. I’m jealous.
Do you have these irrational thoughts too? I know I have them all the time, but I don’t always take notice. A costly car drives past me and I want it. It looks good, drives fast, and I can just imagine the new car smell in that beauty! I’m not considering the monthly payments, insurance costs, or the anxiety medication I’d require every time a careless parker slams their door into my unblemished paint job. Maybe a high dollar car isn’t the wonderland I imagine.
Do you remember the story of The Little Mermaid? The spoiled daughter of King Triton is tired of her boring, safe, underwater life. Poor, poor Arial is suffering the effects of an "overprotective father", dreaming of the life she could have on land. Oh the freedom she could have if she didn’t have to learn, listen or obey her dear sweet dad.
She swims around singing to herself, “Up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun wandering free. Wish I could be, part of that world. What would I give if I could live out of these waters? What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?" And then, the most telling line of the whole song, “Betcha’ on land, they’d understand. Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters. Bright young women: sick of swimming. Ready to stand."
I have a tiny confession: I may or may not have sung this song at the top of my lungs when I was younger. I may or may not have wished to have someone else’s life. I may or may not have coveted the “better life” of the people around me; the people who didn’t love Jesus. The people who didn’t feel guilty when they sinned. The people who put their Christianity on the shelf when it was convenient. The people who lived it up and seemed to love it.
I craved the "greener grass" of sin. I wanted their smiles, their popularity, their money, their houses, their cars, their ability to live in sin unhindered. And, dear friend, I didn’t always make the right choices. I have a few regrets, but for the most part, I resisted the "greener grass.” People snickered, slandered and scoffed at my innocence and naivety.
But today I sit in my dream of an office, thankful I didn’t trade what didn’t seem like a wonderland at the time for the “greener grasses.” It didn’t seem like a wonderland to spend Friday nights with my grandparents instead of partying with friends. It didn’t seem like a wonderland to tell my boyfriend no when he wanted more. It didn’t seem like a wonderland to be introduced as "Sharie the virgin" in my university language arts class. It didn’t seem like a wonderland to choose a low-paying ministry career.
"But where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) I’m so glad Jesus taught me to treasure him more than the greener grass which was so tempting. So, in a spirit of celebration, I wanted to share two attitudes which helped me overcome the temptation of greener grass.
- Listen and respond to conviction: When we’re convicted, we have the opportunity to either see our sin, confess, repent and change; or to get mad at God for “making us feel bad,” let our resentment turn into bitterness, and eventually give up on living out our faith. To overcome sin, we have to believe it is destructive rather than beneficial. Many of us don’t buy into this truth until we’ve been stung by sin’s poison.
- Memory Verse: Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
- Trust that Jesus is Better: When something is enticing us, it’s just plain hard to choose Jesus. But we will never choose him until we start. But after we’ve done it once, we’ll know what it feels like to please him, to choose good things, and to receive his reward. Choosing goodness is a habit and takes practice, so here’s a verse to help you make that tough choice.
- Memory verse: Philippians 3:8 “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
"Jesus, I pray you would teach us to turn down the greener grasses for the good and perfect gifts you have planned for us. Help us to resist and obey you Heavenly Father!"
If you know someone who needs this message, share it with them!
© 2016 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.