Prov. 14:30; 24:19-20; 19:23
Nowadays everyone wants to “go green.” All of us are concerned about the environment, so we’re learning how to recycle, drive more fuel-efficient cars, and fight pollution. But there’s at least one form of “green” to which all of us are susceptible, and we need to avoid it like poison. Actually, it is poison—of the spiritual variety.
Of course I’m talking about envy. I’m sure each of us has fallen into it at one time or another. We think we’re supposed to grow out of it when we reach adulthood, but it’s still there. On a side note, need I remind you that envy prompted the very first murder? So what words of wisdom does Solomon have for us?
• Remember when we first started talking about emotions? Out-of-control negative emotions can—and eventually will—affect your physical health. And envy? That’s just about the worst. When you let envy fester within your thoughts, it’ll eventually corrode everything like battery acid.
• Another reason to deal with this as soon as it crops up? When you’re envious, you’re not taking the eternal perspective. I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. In fact, we ought to tattoo it on our skull: When you’re going through rough times, remember that this is as close to Hell as you’re ever going to get. And when you see a lost man, keep in mind that this is the only Heaven he’ll ever see. You’re a co-heir with Christ! How in the world can you be envious of anything that anyone else has?!
• So what’s the cure for this? Solomon’s term for it is “the fear of the Lord,” an O.T. term for having an intimate and reverent relationship with the Almighty. I spoke about it here. When you have a right relationship with the Father, what do you have to fear? Bad financial times? Problems at the job? Health issues? These might knock you for a loop, but they don’t have to really “touch” you in your soul where it really counts. That’s the key to contentment.
Let me remind you of one more reason, which Solomon didn’t directly address but Moses did. We discussed this last year, but definitely bears repeating. The last of the Ten Commandments is one of the most misunderstood. It’s not a prohibition against improving your situation, or even against acquiring more money. No, it’s forbidding you from wanting what your neighbor has. If you are, then it means, quite frankly, that instead of being grateful, you’re despising what your Father's graciously given you. Let me put this in clear terms: It’s none of your business how he chooses to bless someone else.
Want peace of mind? Want to be rid of the envy bug? Want contentment? So do I.
Father God, I have soooooooo much to be grateful for, starting with the fact that my sins are forgiven both now and forever. I’m asking for a grateful heart, please.