jail house of jealousy.
Religious striving breeds jealousy and competition.
When we begin to focus on how others are running their race we can quickly get tripped up.
This is very easy for me to do at times. Watching friends of mine get breakthroughs I am still praying for, seeing the favor of God rest on other people in a way that makes you envious, seeing others more disciplined in their devotion to Christ, etc.
The Pharisees were notorious for this in Jesus' day. Even after Jesus ascended into Heaven the apostles had to deal with the crippling jealousy of this religious group.
The book of Acts is flat out fascinating. Scene 5 is one example that recently caught my attention.
The subtitle of the chapter in my Bible goes from "The Apostles Heal Many" to
"The Apostles Persecuted."
The Lord was moving so powerfully through the apostles that even their shadows were healing the sick and delivering those tormented by evil spirits.
The church was multiplying like crazy as it met the felt needs of those around them by the power of the Holy Spirit. A few religious folk did not like that.
The high priest and all of his Sadducee buddies decided to arrest the apostles and throw them into jail. The Bible says it was because of jealousy.
The perscution was produced by jealousy. A jealousy the imprisoned some Godly men busy extending the Kingdom of God.
The apostles didn't do time for very long as God ordered their very own prison break.
An angel came to bust them out of their cell and gave them this command, "Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life."
God help us not to fail for the trap of jealousy and somehow temporarily imprison each other with our competitive striving.
The good news is that for the past couple thousand years God has been breaking people free from all kinds of prisons so that they can preach the full message of new life to a lost and hungry world!