WHO NEEDS ENVY ANYWAY? Everyone is faced with the temptation of envy. It just seems to come naturally, which is understandable because of the sin nature we are born with. The bible says, “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 NIV). There seems to be many definitions of envy but they follow the same line. Such as, envy is a “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage” or envy is a “desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else).” But on a simpler side Harold Coffin said this, “Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” How often do we do that? God has blessed us in many ways and yet how often do we look at other people and see all they may have and compare it with our own circumstances in life and our heart gets saddened or desires what they have? Or we may see how talented other people are and we compare ourselves with them and are disappointed with ourselves and God for not gifting us in the same way and we really want to be like them. We count their blessings instead of our own.
Margaret Thatcher said, “The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build.” God reminds us of that when He says, “Don’t let your hearts envy sinners” nor would God want us to envy other Christians either. Instead God says, “always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” We, as Christians, should learn to be content in all circumstances in life, including the gifts (spiritual, mental, physical, financial, etc.), that God has allowed (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV). When we allow ourselves to envy others we are hindered from building into our lives what God desires which is that we are “always zealous for the fear of the Lord.” No person “can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). We can bog ourselves down in envy or we can “always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” Both of those things cannot control our life at the same time. The world we live in promotes envy; as proof just look at the advertising on TV and listen to it on the radio. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is not a myth but rather a reality that drives our society. But God warns us not to be involved in that trap
I am not the most talented person in the world, my family, my profession, among my friends, or among my co-workers. God has equipped me in some areas and in other areas I think I must have been standing in the wrong line when those talents were passed out. It is okay to realize that and concentrate on using what God has given me and where He has placed me in life’s circumstances. And I am thankful for what God has done for others and how He uses them and blesses them. With that satisfaction comes the opportunity to “always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” And after all God has promised that there is “surely a future hope for you (me), and your (my) hope will not be cut off.” It doesn’t get any better than that; satisfaction here and a promise for the future. Who needs envy anyway?