"Do not fret because of evil men, or be envious of those who do wrong;" Psalm 37:1
We all need perspective. Like most people, I get jealous of those "doing well" by Earthly standards. Out of pure anger and jealousy I'm quick to find their flaws and even tend to get worried that I may not be able to keep up with them, regardless if their business practices are what some consider to be"shady". As I read this Psalm, I feel as though it could have been written by me. In the Psalm you can hear a quiet struggle going on inside the writer (David). In one sense, because David knows the "Truth" he is able to have the same perspective as God himself. However, in a strange way, the things being noticed throughout this Psalm and specifically in this verse make it seem like the Psalmist is needing a reminder of why he shouldn't chase after a life that pursues the gratification of self at any cost.
As I look at culture in America, nothing truly sets Christians apart anymore. You can find us in the middle of political debates, drunk in bars every day of the week, getting divorces at an even pace of non-believers, speaking gossip, making idols of created things, blaspheming God and so many other cultural norms that you'd wonder if we've taken God's word seriously. One of the more disturbing habits in which we've conformed to the World is in chasing after the "things" of this life at any cost.
When I first started my company, business took off incredibly fast. So fast, that many times I was making decisions so quickly that I didn't have time to pray through them or check them to see if I was making them to please myself or please God. As this was happening i became concerned that I was sacraficing my integrity as a means to financial gain, new business relationships, and enhancing my worth in this world all at the expense of keeping up with the people who's acts could be considered "evil" and "wrong". One day a man who has since become a mentor asked me, "Ryan, do you consider yourself a Businessman who does Christian, or...a Christian Man who does business?".
I remember the knots in my stomach as I tried to answer that question. In my heart I knew I was the Businessman first. Not because I didn't love Jesus, but instead because I was concerned that if I didn't focus on business first, the "evil" and "those who do wrong" would pass me by. Basically I loved me more and didn't trust that God has my best interest in mind for His purpose. You see, it all comes down to perspective. My shallow view allowed me to agree with culture without even realizing it. This World doesn't want us to have the perspective that God takes care of everything and everyone in His Kingdom. Instead, the Prince of this world has told us that we must remain busy, keep up with those around us, pursue that which gives us pleasure, and please ourselves at any cost.
We must remember that life is more that what we possess. If we truly TRUSTED that God loves us, we wouldn't need to take note of the practices those around us are using to "get ahead" in this life. Our focus does not need to remain on those around us who we cannot change, but instead on our life in Christ which is always being transformed to His likeness.
Today please don't fear or be jealous of those who get ahead in this life by "evil" and "doing wrong". This isn't a suggestion but instead an order from God's word. Our focus should always be up on Him instead of out in to our future. Focusing out only adds worry, fear and anxiety to ones life as we try to figure out ourselves how to get ahead, stay ahead or add comfort. Focusing up leads to increased trust, perspective and peace that only comes from a God who promises to provide all your daily needs.