“Nine tenths of the law: the “P” word”

Envy and jealousy are as old as Eden and just as destructive today. Even  a few minutes of watching the news will show this is true. So how are those who follow Jesus to respond?

This week’s article prompts us to look beyond the surface topic of the struggle to the deeper desire of the spirit.  For the Lord created us for Him through Christ, and our deepest desires can only be satisfied in Him.  Even human jealousy and envy are fallen desires that reflect our original design to be people of influence in the world.

Consider some of the following discussion prompts and related Scriptures.

  • How do we know that God created us to rule as people of power? (Genesis 1:27-28 and 9:1-7)
  • What are some of the problems related to envy and jealousy? (Proverbs 3:29-33, 6:34, 14:30, and 27:4. Philippians 1:15)
  • What do we see in Galatians 5:13-21 regarding the use off power for the goal of intimacy in the works of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit?
  • How does Jesus call His people to “rule” in Mark 10:35-45?
  • What does James 4 teach us about the source of our contentions?
  • What does Psalm 1, Romans 6, Galatians 5:21-26 and similar passages teach us about the price of submitting to our selfish desires versus submitting to God’s good will?


Now consider this week’s article.

Gibraltar: Social media firms facing fresh political pressure after London terror attack

“Nine tenths of the law:  the “P” word” by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (4 April 2017)


Price.  That’s probably not foremost in our minds when arguing to gain, regain, or retain “rightful” control over a piece of property…or recognition of accomplishment, or version of an event, or status of a relationship, etc.  But price is the flip-side of possession.  Or, said another way, responsibilities are the dark side of rights.

This past Sunday, ex-Tory leader Lord Howard compared Prime Minister May’s passions for Gibraltar to the UK’s defense of the Falklands in 1982.  The PM laughed off journalists’ immediate questions about going to war with Spain, but one thing is clear:  the past and future decisions associated with Brexit continue to have powerful ripple effects in the European Union and beyond.  One British op-ed detailed specifics costs to the UK and her neighbors and greater waves that could quickly follow.

“Now the Kingdom of Spain is soon to be the fourth largest EU economy and a significant power, with the backing of the entire bloc behind her. The choice, bluntly, may be between a good deal for the UK and Gibraltar but, say, with joint sovereignty with Spain – or a crash-out-hard, hostile Brexit with the added punishment of a blockade of Gibraltar. That means closing the frontier between Gibraltar and Spain, refusing permission for flights over Spanish airspace to Gibraltar and European sanctions on financial and tax avoidance activities.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/spain-gibraltar-brexit-article-50-eu-british-empire-colonisation-a7662661.html) Possessions always come with prices.

Like most boys, all three of mine occasionally cost me.  They were high-energy warriors often battling over whatever their sibling had at the moment, no matter what it was. “The grass is always greener” was each one’s unspoken mantra.  So even when they were still young (7 or 8), I decided to teach them to play chess.  It’s not that I’m particularly good.  In fact, I’m a complete novice.  I only know the basic rules and a few of the key principles, such as “always think 2-3 moves ahead”.  But that was all I wanted them to learn:  potential costs, especially for decisions made too quickly.  That’s one reason the military gives so much time to planning in anything potentially costly: actions have consequences.

Here are three military questions that may help you when warring with someone else. 1) What are your own capabilities and limitations?  Realistically, you can only do certain things well, and great leaders will tell you, “Hope is not a plan.”  Plan for what you can do, not merely want to do.  2) What is their most likely course of action?  If you know their favorite or fallback moves, consider those when preparing your subsequent moves toward victory.  But the one most relevant to spiritual resilience and emotional intelligence may be 3) what is their most dangerous course of action?  That begs the question of price.  There’s a treasure or two at the bottom of your chest, which conflict puts at risk.  When the war is over and dust has settled, what would your victory look like?  More control?  Others’ commitment?  Personal peace?  When we can clearly define what our spirit really wants, our perspective on the price will also become clearer.  That insight can lead us to fight a different battle, to firm our resolve for this one, or to accept some losses toward a greater cause for both of you.


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10435502_855049431182935_4536762765713190951_nUnless otherwise indicated, Jeff Dillard is the author of all posts in this blog, the goal of which is your greater joy in Christ through leadership and counseling.  Jeff and his wife, Lauren, have been married since 1995.  By God’s grace, they have four wonderful children and two grandchildren.  Jeff was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America and commissioned as an Army Chaplain in 1998.  He has Master’s degrees in Divinity, History, and Counseling.  Since 1998, he’s had the privilege of equipping and encouraging others’ faith and service to the Lord Jesus by leading congregations and counseling in multicultural settings across the United States.  Seven of those years have been in Germany, Korea, and Iraq.  For leisure, Jeff enjoys simple time with his family, exercise, playing guitar and trumpet, and trying foreign foods with friends.

Please note that the contents of tools4trenches do not necessarily reflect specific beliefs or practices of organizations in which Jeff works or worships.

You can also follow Jeff on Facebook or Twitter.

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