Monday, July 25 — Genesis 4-7

Years ago, I attended a conference in California for youth leaders which was led by Doug Fields, a youth pastor & writer. It was amazing. I took a ton of notes and learned a lot of things, but I also began to sense there was no way I would ever get it together like these guys teaching us. They seemed so smart, so organized, so “with it” that I could never be as effective as them.

One evening during that conference, Doug Fields invited a limited number of conference attenders to his house for ice-cream after hours. I found myself sitting in his living room, eating his food, and just talking with him. It gave me a chance to see that the people we see “on stage” are really pretty normal & just like us most of the time. They even like ice-cream.

I read a devotion that Doug had written for his students about jealousy based on the story of Cain & Abel in Genesis 4. Here’s what he wrote to his students. It also applied to me, as a youth leader. This lesson has stayed with me all of these years, and it helped me stop comparing myself to others. I hope it will help you do the same. He wrote…

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It doesn’t take the IQ of a I genius to recognize Cain’s jealousy. He compared his gift with Abel’s and, like all comparison, he lost. Instead of attacking his own problem of jealousy, he attacked his brother and killed him.
Jealous people are typically not happy with who they are. They spend too much time comparing themselves to others and trying to conform to another’s style, personality, or look. This comparison game can leave you feeling like a loser because you’ll always find someone stronger, smarter, more athletic, or better looking than you.
Fortunately, God doesn’t play the comparison game. He doesn’t care if you are tan, fat, thin, athletic, or smart. God is interested in your heart. He loves you just the way you are; so thank Him and celebrate your creation.
-Seth Ross

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