Envy Advice


Do not let your heart envy sinners.  Don’t want to be like the bad guy. I would have avoided much grief if I had embraced this maxim as a child and clung to it like precious diamonds or rubies?  Envy is a sharp tool in the devil’s toolbox, and there is a better way…

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:17-18

1 Do not envy the wicked,
do not desire their company;
2 for their hearts plot violence,
and their lips talk about making trouble.
Proverbs 24:1

1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Psalm 73:1-3

It’s graduation season and I just attended my last grade 12 graduation for my kids – young Colson is now graduated and off to work.  There are always several speeches from teachers, and principals, and school board officials.  I wonder if they rehash their material.  I’d know (third time), if I hadn’t blotted out those speeches from my mind.

Maybe they’re different in a context where Biblical advice could be given boldly and clearly.  I’ll have to ask my friends with kids in Christian school.  Today’s verse is one that should make its way into the speeches of those who spur and challenge the new grads entering the grown-up world with a desire to follow Jesus.

To get to the point, do not let your heart envy sinners.  How much grief in my life would I have avoided if I had embraced this maxim as a child and clung to it like precious diamonds or rubies?  Envy, and particularly envy of sinners, is a sharp tool in the devil’s toolbox.

If Satan can get us to look upon the lives of those who are not following God with envy, he is putting big points on the board in the competition for our souls.  Don’t do it.  Don’t let yourself do it.  There is a sad risk that we will be willing to go down paths and pursue things in ways which we should not all for the goal of having what others have.

I think the opposite of envy is contentment.  Others disagree as some focus the view of envy on the other person, which leads them to consider virtues like compassion as the opposite. To me, however, envy is first and foremost an emotion which comes from and focuses on self. 

If our contentment in God and his love and provision for us welled up within and overflowed from our hearts, we would not be envious.  We would not look outward to compare and contrast our blessings with that of another.

Don’t be envious, and particularly of sinners.  Focus on contentment with the love and provision of God.  Your hope will not be cut off…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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