It begs the question.
Does my behavior arouse interest?
Does my lifestyle stimulate curiosity?
Does my conduct or demeanor provoke emulation of some sort?
Especially if you know me, personally?
Do you want to be like me????
I’ve never set out to make anyone envious. That’s not my nature. That’s not what I am about.
However, does anyone in my sphere of influence seek Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior based upon what they see in my life?
These are the questions I am pondering after reading Paul’s words to Roman believers:
…in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
New International Version, Romans 11:14
Like I said, I’ve never set out to make anyone envious or even jealous of me. Perish the thought.
So, as I read the word, ‘envy’ I wondered what Paul meant when he penned this word – or at least why the NIV translators chose to use it. I discovered that the Greek definition of ‘envy’ means something altogether different than the English definition for which I am familiar. Envy, in Paul’s estimation was NOT a resentful longing or feeling of discontentment over someone else’s possessions, lifestyle, character, or quality. Rather, envy, from the Greek transliterated word, parazeloo means to provoke emulation, to desire, and to affect and to burn with zeal. Envy or parazeloo incited some kind of inner desire for change based upon what they saw or experienced in the life of someone else.
Paul hoped that his people, his family, and his friends, would be desirous of a relationship with Jesus Christ because of what they saw and witnessed in Paul’s own heart, soul, and life. He yearned to be a beacon of the joy, the peace, the contentment and the saving grace he had embraced in Christ. He wanted his life in Christ to impact those he loved and cared for most – his Jewish family and friends. He exhorted his people to know Christ as he did.
In the New International Version, the word ‘hope’ is used in Romans 11:14. The word ‘hope’ isn’t found in other Bible translations. Yet, I’m glad the NIV authors chose to use it. For hope means to extol God’s favor and mercy. In other words, in hope and by extoling the mercy and favor of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul sought to arouse the spiritual longing of his people in order for them to be delivered and saved by their faith, belief and trust in Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to assist in that meaningful, spiritual process in whatever way possible. He devoted his life to this cause.
Again, hope begs the question: Do I?
Am I doing all I can to share the hope I have in Jesus Christ with my people?
I don’t want the people in my life to be envious of me. But I do want them to be curious and captivated by the love I have for my Savior and by the love that Jesus has for me.
But just like Paul, I cannot make that happen in someone else’s life (this is the work of the Holy Spirit) – I can only stay the course of what Jesus Christ is doing in me and share His love in the process with whoever He brings my way – whether with my people (my family, my friends, my sphere of influence) or not.
So, yes, this verse begs the question:
Lord, does my behavior, my posture, my character, and every large and small aspect of my life arouse and captivate interest in those who do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ?
Do my words and my actions provoke emulation in Christ?
It is a question I must ask of myself on a regular basis.
Father God, I desire that others would come to know and love Christ – in whatever way you choose to use me. May even this blog post be a conduit for someone to seek you more – in some way and for some purpose all to your glory and honor and for their blessed benefit, I pray.
Friends, our behavior, our words, and our thought and prayer life have the potential to impact someone’s life and decision for Christ!
Do our lives affect others in a way that draws them to Jesus?
May it be so!