How many times, after learning one of my friends is in a new relationship or has just gotten amazing news, have I said with a smile, “Oh, I’m so excited for you! You and (insert new boyfriend’s name) look so good together!” Meanwhile, my needy and jealous heart is asking, “Aren’t you too young to already have a serious boyfriend?! How did that happen?”
I might be sweetly responding to the blessing of someone else on the outside, yet all the while I’m fighting tooth and nail with my fleshly heart wondering, Why does she get (fill in the blank) and I don’t?
Been there? Done that? (I’ve done it more times than I can count!)
I need Him to root out the ugly selfishness in my heart and help me to love and see people the way He does.
Why am I like that? I let my unmet desires and expectations fester inside of me, and in that moment, I make a quick decision. I choose to love myself more than the friend standing in front of me.
Sometimes it’s tough to rejoice with those who rejoice. The more I grow in my walk with Christ, the more I see my need to grow in showing grace, kindness, and love. I need to think of myself less.
How To Show Genuine Love
Paul talks about showing this kind of genuine love in Romans 12: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. . . . Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (vv. 10–15).
When I’m focused on Him and serving those around me with His love, I forget about myself!
Sometimes I think that weeping with those who weep is much easier than rejoicing with those who rejoice, especially when it comes to rejoicing with someone who has received something that I lack. I can cry with the best of them, but it’s a challenge to truly and fully rejoice in the blessing of another.
This is just one of the many reasons I need Jesus. I need Him to root out the ugly selfishness in my heart and help me to love and see people the way He does. Jesus can do that in me, and I have experienced His Spirit changing my heart. Here are three ways He is helping me to rejoice with others.
1. See All He Has Already Done
He is showing me how incredibly good and kind He is to me, which, in turn, helps me be grateful for what He has already given me instead of focusing on what I lack. Most significantly, Jesus took my place and absorbed the wrath of God, saving me from my sin!
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:6–9).
His kindness leads me to repentance, and His sacrificial love is enough for me. He has blessed me with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3–4).
2. Focus on Serving
He has also given me a passion to use my gifts and talents for His kingdom. When I’m focused on Him and serving those around me with His love, I forget about myself! All of a sudden, my priorities change, and I’m more concerned with serving the One who gave so much for me. I find so much joy in using my gifts for His glory!
3. Think About Eternity
Finally, I’m learning to think about eternity and remember that I’m just an alien passing through (1 Peter 2:11). Suddenly, the things I want so much grow strangely dim. I begin to realize that it’s much easier to let go of unfulfilled desires when my mind is set on things that are above (Col. 3:1–2).
I want my outward, kind response to line up with a selfless, inward response. Jesus is doing just that within me, and He can do that in you, too. Just ask Him, and be ready to truly and fully celebrate in the victories, accomplishments, and blessings of those around you.
Whose victory can you celebrate today?