Living surrounded by non-Christians, or those who claim to be Christian and yet do not live out their faith can become discouraging. So many times I've looked at the lives of those who do not even seem to care to follow the will of God for their lives, and they appear happy, even blessed with many things that I can easily become jealous of. How is that I spend time each week pursuing God, often giving up opportunities because I know that it isn't what He wants for me, and yet they seem to live stress-free, easily going after and getting whatever their hearts desire?
Asaph expresses some of these feelings in the 73 Psalm:
"For I was envious of the arrogantAs I saw the prosperity of the wicked...Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure,And washed my hands in innocence" (v. 3, 13)
Particularly recently I've found myself in Asaph's shoes, struggling to accept the fact that by choosing to keep myself pure I have come face to face with not only ridicule from others, but envy within my own heart.
Asaph quickly reminds us, however, that these struggles shouldn't matter if Christ is truly enough for us.
"Nevertheless I am continually with Thee;Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me,And afterward receive me to glory.Whom have I in heaven but Thee?And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.My flesh and heart may fail,But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Asaph tells us that he "came into the sanctuary of God" and was there reminded of the fact that the wicked will receive their judgment in the end. Until then, why does it matter if they exalt themselves with pride? If God is truly all that we desire on earth, we should rejoice in the fact that He is reminding us daily of our need for Him.
Something to take away from the sermon is that we need to lay aside our envy of others and stop living in our own imagined future. Discontentment would not have such a strong reign in our hearts if we didn't create our own future in our minds. We become disappointed when life does not turn out the way that we want, but if we laid those desires aside for Christ, we would find our hope fulfilled in Him. If we fix our gaze on Him, we are able to step into His sanctuary. But we need to choose to draw near to God.
I desire to live a "sanctuary life", daily in the presence of God so that I am reminded and encouraged of the fact that He is all that we ought to desire on earth. No matter what happens within our physical surroundings, may He be the strength of our hearts... our portion forever!