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It’s Gonna Get Ugly

Cutthroat. Politically charged. Condescending. Arrogance. Anger.

I could be talking about the corporate world or Washington D.C. or other institutions, but surely not ministers or ministries, right? If you’re laughing too hard to continue, I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself.

Yes, the same afflictions and temptations keep knocking at the door of pastors and ministers of all kinds. When we indulge in the pettiness and bitterness, our hearts grow sicker and sicker. Bob Sorge might say our hearts grow smaller and smaller.


It’s in these cases, God will often take us through a process to enlarge what has wasted away.

An enlarged heart finds its interests much broader than the confines of its own ministry involvements. It freely delights in seeing the blessings of God abound elsewhere, even when that blessing is not presently touching its own immediate sphere. It is free of all jealousy, competition, and comparison. –Bob Sorge, the Fire of Delayed Answers

I’m going to make this personal for me, but you do the same in your own life and situation.

  • How do I feel when another church or ministry gets more recognition than me and my church?
  • How do I respond when a new blog pops up and immediately garners a huge following while I’m struggling to keep a handful engaged?
  • What do I think or say in my heart when I hear about a music minister who is selling lots of worship music and albums and is booked way out in that conference and that church and the offers have dried up for me?

I could go on, but I’m not looking to depress myself. I’ll tell you, a few times I have responded correctly, but much more than those, I have pouted, sulked, gotten down/depressed, gotten angry, or any number of ridiculous things. It’s ugly and I don’t like to admit it, but it’s true.

The last words in that quote ring in my ears–[An enlarged heart] is free of all jealousy, competition, and comparison.

Me, jealous? Yes. Feelings of competition where it’s “all about Jesus”? Yep. Comparing myself and my situation to others who are not walking my walk and I’m not in theirs? Oh yeah.

Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. –Psalm 37:4

I heard a Hebrew scholar talking about this verse once. He said that we take it to mean if we delight in Him, He’ll give us what we want. What the psalmist is declaring though is that if we delight in Him, He will even direct the desires of your heart. He will be so intimately involved and abiding with you, that His desires become your desires.

I can’t do anything about how I’ve responded in the past, but I’m choosing today to delight in my God, to thank Him for the season I’m in and that He is expanding my heart and view of the Kingdom. A heart free of jealousy, competition, and comparison seems foreign, even crazy.

But I know the God who changes hearts and lives, and He is faithful.

Your turn. What are your thoughts? Have you experienced this in your own life?

fda-sorge3Welcome to week 2 of Chapter 9 for our book club discussion of the Fire of Delayed Answers (disclosure) by Bob Sorge. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. Since the chapters are longer and subject matter warrants, we’ll also be taking 2 weeks for each chapter. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!


  1. Jason, I’ve been guilty of all of the above, man. But I’ll also tell you that I *love* the idea of God directing the desires of my heart. And the reason for that is that I don’t trust my heart to have desires that are good for me. I can look back at my life, at all of the things I’ve prayed for — sometimes begged for — along the way, that I didn’t get. And now, with the luxury of hindsight, I can see how detrimental those things would have been for me. Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Lying on the BottomMy Profile

    • Yeah, I really love that too. My desires have led to distractions, hardships, and all kinds of not-so-great things. I want to know what it truly means to delight in Him and find my joy in Him. The fruit is amazing. Thanks Sarah.

  2. Well, I tend more to the competition side but to be honesty, jealousy and even pride have been a factor for me. I could elaborate on the pride thoughts, but I don’t think there is a need too. 🙂

    I too want to put the past behind and delight in the Lord in such a way that He directs my heart’s desires.

    Psalm 63:1 -- You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,…
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Missing the PointMy Profile

    • Yeah I think jealousy and pride definitely go together. We think we deserve what someone else has or gets to experience. Essentially we believe we’re better or will do better with it. I’m guilty! Guilty and stupid. 🙂 He knows and He has to be Lord, not me. Despite my protesting, it’s what I really want. Thanks Dusty.

  3. I have been in that very same place, and it is not a pleasant experience whatsoever! I choose to delight in God, knowing that He knows what’s best for me. Now, when those ugly feelings begin to surface, I pray immediately for the Lord to remove them from my heart. They don’t belong there! 🙂
    Great post, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Keep Calm and Carry OnMy Profile

    • Yeah, the ones I see are one thing, but there are some God has to show me because I don’t recognize them! There will never be a day I’m not dependent on Him (no matter what I think sometimes). Thanks so much, Martha.

  4. As my youngest son (13) deals with many of the things you mention, not the least of which is jealousy, competition, and comparison, and as I am called to help him as his mother work through these and grow in a way that honors God, I must also confront these things within myself. I simply cannot help my son if I do not. In that, God is working on both of us as He presents these struggles in my son’s life.
    Kari Scare recently posted..Tone MattersMy Profile

    • Yeah, I can totally identify with working through my issues as I work through with my kids. It’s so humbling. Wonderful point. Thank you, Kari.

  5. I’m so guilty of NOT responding in a loving way. Well, on the outside it may appear I’m responding in a Christ like way, but on the inside I’m not. And God knows the heart. I can’t hide from Him.

    That thought might evoke fear in some (that God knows our darkest secrets) but I take comfort it in. God has seen me at my worst and He loves me anyway.

    I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m maturing. Like you, I cant’ change my past, but I can decide how I will respond in the future.

    This book is exposing some of my deepest sins and helping me to embrace grace like never before. In Christ I am a new creation. I don’t have to be jealous of others, but the choice in how I respond is up to me.

    Great post.

    • I’m with you. It doesn’t scare me that God knows it all. It’s a comfort. It means I rightfully feel ridiculous when I try to hide or pretend stuff isn’t there. I’m in Christ and He loves me completely. That grace changes me. Thanks so much, TC.

  6. Doing some catch up tonight and glad I scrolled on down to this post. We have ended a week long workshop at our mission headquarters on Peer to Peer Debrief. I feel like we have a few more tools to help others.

    The quote from Sorge is so heart searching. Great job on adding some insight to it Jason. This thought has been running through my mind recently, this same thought of God going deep in my heart. I am thankful He uses the vehicle of grace to drive truth deep. Looking forward to soon getting back to Sorge book, I am in chapter four, too much coming at me lately. Looking toward that move, must be out by April 1st, sooner then they first told us when it sold. Great post brother.

    • God’s timing is perfect. You’ll get to reading it again and it’ll bless you, I’m sure. More and more, I find myself thankful for grace. I’d be hopelessly lost without it and stuck. He gives so beautifully and substantially. Thank you, Betty.

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