How far would you go to look better than others? We live in an image-based culture and many would go pretty far to portray their life as “perfect.” When I scroll through Facebook and Instagram, it appears that most of my “friends” are happy beyond belief. With everyone so happy, logic would lead me to believe that people would live in harmony. And yet, time after time, I am witnessing jealousy and covetousness around the world. Take Penny from New Zealand, for example. As a bride-to-be, Penny made special smoothies for her sisters, who would be her bridesmaids, to make them fat. Penny said, “I always felt like Jan Brady in the middle – I wasn’t as hot and popular as my older sister and I wasn’t as cute and fun as my younger sister. I was just Penny in the middle. But I found a man who loved me for me and I couldn’t be happier.” However, Penny was not satisfied with her newfound love. She had to make sure that she looked better than her sisters. Her strategy worked as her sisters had to have their gowns altered for their “thickening waistlines.” As far stretching as this story seems, many of us are a lot like Penny. We mask our darksides and present ourselves “perfect,” which stems from pride, envy, and jealousy. May I dare say that some of us are serving with the wrong motivation, only to look more righteous than others — a life that is not sustainable that leads to death. The Apostle Paul teaches that we should “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). We can only live humble lives by looking to Jesus, who humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. On this Communion Sunday, let us look to the cross and remember, “Dead to sin, alive in Christ.”

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