A multi-million dollar yacht docked nearby for a couple of days last week. The moment I saw its massive windows and large back deck complete with lounging chairs, this thought popped into my head: Wow – it must be nice to be wealthy enough to afford that toy. Imagine how much space there is inside. Living aboard would be so easy. Lucky owners.
Ding-ding-ding-ding! An alarm immediately sounded in my spirit. “Don’t go there,” whispered the Holy Spirit. “Envy will suck you into a trap.”
I knew the whisper was right, so I immediately prayed, “Father, guard my heart. Thank You for the boat-home You’ve given us. It’s ideal for our needs, and I am grateful.”
Envy comes in many shapes and sizes. It might beckon us because a friend or family member owns a nicer home with newer furniture. Or drives a car with more amenities. Or takes extended vacations in places we can only imagine. Maybe that person’s marriage is more fun, her kids are more respectful, or her diet is more successful.
Envy grows more intense when that friend or family shows no regard for the Lord. Our human bent says, “It’s not fair. Why does she enjoy so many pleasures when I’m the one sacrificing for God’s sake?”
Asaph, the writer of Psalm 73, admitted his struggle with envy. “I tried to understand why the wicked prosper,” he wrote. “But what a difficult task it is!” (v. 16). He gained clarity by going into the sanctuary of God and thinking about the destiny of the wicked (v. 17). The more he pondered truth, the more clarity he gained.
Here are three truths that freed Asaph from envy:
- Physical pleasures and success are temporal (vv. 19,20). Granted, they might be nice at the time, but they can vanish in a heartbeat. Why waste one’s energy envying something that won’t last? Let’s invest ourselves in what God values instead.
- Envy turns us into unpleasant people (vv. 21,22). As Asaph gained clarity, he recognized that he’d become a bitter man, foolish and arrogant in God’s eyes. In my case, wistful thoughts about the yacht set me on a slippery path to discontentment. Unless I stepped off that path, it would lead me into a mindset of finding fault with everything about our sailboat. I’d eventually second-guess God’s leading us to make this life transition.
Our thoughts ultimately influence our behaviors and our destiny, so let’s refuse to dwell on envious thoughts. Like Asaph, let’s switch them out for truth so we’ll in both gratitude and godliness.
- God alone satisfies (vv. 23-28). Envy makes us think like this—If only I had what she has, my life would be so much better. The truth is—if only we’d recognized the depth of God’s love and the power of His presence, our lives would be so much better.
Envy is a trap. Freedom comes when we focus not on what others have but on the riches that belong to us when we belong to God. Asaph got it right when he wrote these words—”…I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny” (v. 24).
So—is envy beckoning you into its trap? If so, identify the lie it wants you to believe and ask the Holy Spirit to align your thoughts with truth so you can escape its nasty clutches.
#bgbg2 #Envy #FreedomFromEnvy #Psalms