You have been exhorted many times to learn how to read the story, and especially to learn how to read the story you are in. This means that you must learn to identify (correctly) the protagonist and the antagonist. But in good literature, and in real life, this is not a matter of looking at white hats and black hats. Neither is it as simple as looking at whoever is winning. “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree” (Ps. 37:35).
God’s faithful servants, His protagonists, have been thrown down into cisterns, in mud up their armpits. They have routed armies and won great victories. They have been tied to stakes. They have been acclaimed by all in great parades.
We have to read the story in terms of where the Spirit is, which means that we are called upon to identify the blessing. Where is the blessing? Instead of throwing up your hands in despair, realize that we all do this to a certain extent already. When you thank the Lord for the food, you assume the food was given you for a blessing, and not to fatten you up for the day of wrath.
When Haman was invited to the banquet by Queen Esther, he misread the story. He thought he had the mojo with him. When he was forced to honor Mordecai, his wife read that plot point correctly, seeing that his downfall was imminent.
When blessing rests upon another, when glory is given to another, when God gives to another—whether riches or martyrdom—we can tell who shares in the blessing, and who is outside of it. The one who shares the joy of it shares the blessing, and the one who carps in envy has identified the blessing as well, only in jealousy.