Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:17-18 NiV
Don’t for a minute envy careless rebels; soak yourself in the Fear-of-God– That’s where your future lies. Then you won’t be left with an armload of nothing. The Message
Why would a righteous person envy a sinner? Why would our heart be engaged with thinking that a sinner has things that we want? How do we protect ourselves from envy? What is the breeding ground were envy germinates to find a place to give root and begin to grow? Is there a bent toward envy for some people that starts in childhood? Can we really stop our heart from moving toward envy?
From the beginning of time envy has captivated our thoughts. Eve was tempted to think that God was withholding something from her. If she had access to all that God possesses…she could be like God knowing good and evil. This thought led her to challenge God’s command and sinned. The power of Envy is incredibly deceitful and strong as evidenced in its inclusion into one of the 7 deadly sins.
Envy wants what someone else has, while greed is focused on gaining more for yourself. You may be envious of another person’s job, position in the company, pay, name on the door, parking spot, work hours. Or you may be envious of their spouse (which has led many to divorce), their family, their house, where they live, their automobiles, their success, their position in the community, or their wealth. You may be envious of another student, their intellect, their popularity, their athletic ability, their good looks, their personality. God would call all of this type of envy of others sin.
Ultimately envy involves a lie about your present condition. You may feel that God is withholding something from you and that God may not have your best interest at heart. I am not referring to mistakes and wrong decisions in which you are living out the consequences of those decisions.. Rather, can you truly believe and trust that God knows your EVERY need? Do you believe that He has made you for a specific purpose….one that is good and not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future?
So let me give you my secret remedy that helps put “Teflon coating” on your heart so that envy doesn’t stick. It takes two ingredients that are “proven” to counteract the effects of envy. In fact, this remedy has a “multipurpose effect”. It will address more than envy, and has the potential to make you a very different person. You will begin to feel the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
Depending on your severity of “envy illness” you may find that this remedy is a little hard to swallow. The effects of this cure may be slow in coming, although many see some immediate benefits. These practices are simple enough that your child can begin to do them. A child learns best what is modeled in front of them. So parents, make sure your taking the remedy also. Don’t miss the simplicity, it really does work.
So here it is,
- Learn to be verbally thankful towards God and others and
- Learn how to legitimately speak a blessing over others.
Being thankful and being envious are mutually exclusive, which is a math term that means there is no way these two “values” can exist together. They are at the extreme opposite ends of the pole. So we use our mouths to learn to be thankful. You can see a benefit just by making your mouth say something right and thankful even if that is not how you “feel”. Saying the right thing moves your life into that direction.
Let’s look at the Eve conversation again.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5 NIv
A thankful heart from Eve could have responded. “Yes, serpent we may eat of all the trees, except that one, I am thankful that God loves me enough to protect me. He knows what I need and what I should not have. I am thankful for the variety of foods that he has provided.”
You see thankfulness moves the focus from what you don’t have to appreciating what God has already provided for you. You can start by being thankful for your next breath, or that God has created your bodies so you don’t have to remind your heart to beat…it just does. A truly thankful person is happier, more contented, and more pleasant to be around. You can still excel in knowledge and activities but the motivation is stewarding what God has blessed you with…not trying to be better than your competitor.
The second ingredient follows being thankful…it is learning to bless. I say learning, because most have not heard it modeled. You grow in your “blessing” vocabulary by meditating on the needs and desires of the person you desire to bless. You begin to think how would the favor of God look in their life. Then take the time to verbalize it.
Your co-worker that works diligently on a project should be blessed. Even if they get the promotion that you felt was supposed to be yours. You speak that blessing over them, because that is what God’s favor would look like in your life also.
Bless and you receive a blessing. To bless others is like shooting an arrow at one target and it hits a blessing in your life also. So listen to your speech. Are you truly able to speak God’s blessings over the lives of your friends, over those who you envy, over your enemies?
Ultimately, when you are thankful and blessing, you are reflecting a trust in God’s provision for your life. He loves you and wants the best for you at all times. When you encounter suffering, God can use it to deepen your trust in His care for you.
God’s remedy for envy at the very least includes engaging in thankfulness and learning to bless.
Blessings Love y’all