Happy Friday! Hope you had a great week!
In my personal devotion and prayer time this week, the scripture in Psalms 37:1, “…..and neither be thou ENVIOUS against those who do wrong” kept coming back to me replaying in my head. It got me to really thinking about ENVY. Envy is considered to be one of the Seven deadly sins of the Catholic Church. In the Book of Genesis envy is said to be the motivation behind Cain murdering his brother, Abel, as Cain envied Abel because God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s. Envy can derail your drive, focus, and motivation if you let it.
How many of us have heard the old saying, “Green with envy.” That saying is so true because although envy can’t change your color, if you let it rule you, it changes the essence of who you are. Coveting what others have going for them is still alive and well. And we’re all susceptible to it. No one is immune. An interesting thought I had, is that it is rare to hear someone preach or teach about the things in our life that are not readily seen (the invisible sins..as I call it).
Here are a few things that I’ve learned over the years that will eradicate envy:
1. Recognize and accept your own worth before God and embrace the uniqueness of your gifting. Many times we fail to see our own value and worth because we are focused on others who we are just as gifted and talented as no less but can see it. Note Paul’s words on this:
Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way – the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body – that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything (1 Corinthians 12:21-27).
2. Remember that you have no idea about the sufferings that the person you’re envying faces behind closed doors. You may want to trade your life for theirs on the surface, but if you knew their problems and sufferings, you’d quickly change your mind and thank God for the life that you have. We actually could be envying something that would be very painful for us if we were in that person shoes.
3. Reassess what you’re coveting. I hear a lot of young people say things like, “I wish I could preach like he does.” Or, “I wish I could write like she does.” Or, “I wish I had their kind of money.”
By contrast, I’ve heard very few people say things like: “I wish I would witness more like they do” or “Win souls to christ like they do” or “I wish I knew the Lord like he does.” Or, “I want to respond to my enemies with the kind of grace that she does.” Or, “I wish I could consistently return good for evil like they do.”
If you want to envy something, don’t envy a person’s gifts, platform, or possessions. Covet the way they know the Lord and the way they exhibit Him in their treatment of others. That is how you eradicate envy.
Charles Spurgeon once said
“The cure for envy lies in living under a constant sense of the divine presence, worshiping God and communing with Him all the day long, however long the day may seem. True religion lifts the soul into a higher region, where the judgment becomes more clear and the desires are more elevated. The more of heaven there is in our lives, the less of earth we shall covet. The fear of God casts out envy of men.”
Pastor Derrick Phillips