Competition is one of my signature strengths. I don’t like losing or being wrong. By God’s grace I am mellowing with age. So, I can somewhat identify with John when he and his buddies were bothered that someone they didn’t know was taking on demons in the power of Jesus’ name yet wasn’t part of their signature team. I’m sure he felt that that it was completely inappropriate for one who was not spending time at the feet of the Master to minister as a supposed follower. But John and his fellow disciples were misguided in their thinking.
He had everything a man could want. Saul, son of Kish, was crowned by the prophet Samuel as the first king of Israel. Physically, he stood a head taller than his countrymen—they literally looked up to him. Initially, he seemed humble—recognizing that he had no right to be king–coming from the smallest tribe in his nation. But along came a sheep herder who pulverized Goliath the giant with a slingshot, led Saul’s troops to repeated victories against the Philistines and captured the heart of a nation in song and in fame. Saul saw that God favored David and his heart turned from admiration for Judah’s noble warrior to jealousy.
Dr. Myles Munroe wr0te in his book The Burden of Freedom, “When a lifestyle of irresponsibility is allowed to increase, the voice of conscience is progressively silenced . . . Conscience has died throughout much of the world’s society because we have inherited a spirit of irresponsibility.” Irresponsibility thrives when we fail to punish wrong behavior. But we also spur its existence by too quickly applying mercy without permitting disgrace. This may seem odd since the word disgrace carries such a negative connotation. This is why Scripture is profoundly important. Notice how God used disgrace to teach us a lesson.
“A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them.” According to Dr. Bruce Levine, young Americans especially are rebelling against an unpleasant life through what is termed mental illness. Depression is 10-20 times more common than it was 50 years ago and it has also become a young person’s setback. “Whereas 30 years ago the average age at which the first onset of depression occurred was 29.5, now the average age is between 14 and 15.”A New York Times report in 2007 discovered that the number of children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder had increased 40-fold between 1994 and 2003. The Center for Disease Control shares the following: “A total of 13%–20% of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year, and surveillance during 1994–2011 has shown the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing.”
Have you ever made an exciting discovery? You go and share your new found information with those who should be interested and their response is unenthusiastic. Instead of them celebrating with you or wanting to learn more, you are met with disinterested head nodding. The test of whether someone really cares about what you care about is their genuine willingness to get involved.