Ok, ok, these guys are a little over the top, but some of their comments do hit close to home…
Janelle for the girls
You repent and resolve to put away envy, but the feelings only grow more intense. And so do the circumstances: five more of your friends get pregnant, or that one friend with the big house gets a bigger one!
Can anyone relate? I sure can.
At these times we can be tempted to discouragement and despair. We think, “This is not working. I might as well give up.” We may even become more entrenched in self-pity and envy than before.
But it helps to remember that this is a battle. The enemy (our sin of envy) won’t give up after just one jab. We may need to settle in for a long-term fight.
I remember a time I was struggling with envy: I prayed for God’s blessing on this person every morning for many months. My feelings didn’t change overnight, but over time, God transformed my heart to one of love for this person.
So let me encourage you—don’t give up in your battle against envy! Each time you pray, each time you meditate on God’s Word, each time you reflect on God’s goodness, you are weakening envy. Even though you might not see results at first, God will give you victory, if you persevere and do not give up.
“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:8-9
Steph writes to say that this series on envy, “has awakened me to the way in which envy manifests itself in my life and the poor attitude I have toward others. My trouble now is that I am finding it very difficult to deal with these emotions and to know how to overcome them.”
The Bible tells us very simply to: “Put away all…envy” (1 Pet. 2:1). How do we do this?
1. Confess our envy to God and ask for his power and grace for change.
2. Stop comparing ourselves with others. Jesus’ question to Peter (“What is that to you?”) was intended to jolt him (and us) out of a preoccupation with others. It’s none of our business, so we must stop thinking about it! We must refuse to entertain thoughts that lead to envy.
3. Meditate on a verse that convicts you of envy and redirects your gaze to Christ. Connect one bit of Scripture to one bit of life.
4. Pray for God to bless the person you are tempted to envy. This strikes a blow against the envious desire to see blessing withheld from another.
5. Remember all the ways that God has blessed you. Start a list if you need to and refer to it when you are tempted to envy. You can’t give thanks to God and envy at the same time.
These are but a few ways to put away envy, but what if it won’t stay put?
More on that tomorrow…
“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] following them…When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:20-22)
Jesus’ rebuke, while it seems harsh, was really the most loving answer he could give to Peter, for sinful comparison is a destructive practice. The Bible calls it envy.
So far we’ve considered three questions:
WHO do we envy? (We envy those close to us.)
WHY do we envy? (We don’t want others to have what we can’t have. We want to be the best. We doubt God’s goodness.)
WHAT are the consequences of envy? (It robs us of peace, fruitfulness, and relationships.)
Envy is serious. “Out of envy” Jesus was delivered up to die. But “out of mercy” he confronts our sinful comparison because he wants to help us overcome it.
We’ll address this final question: “HOW do we overcome envy?” in the following posts.
Every Spring, ants invade our home and make tracks for the kitchen. I’m not particularly fond of these little guys, and I do all I can to eliminate them as quickly as possible.
But this year, we also have ants as pets.
For Christmas, Liam and Owen received ant farms and a voucher for free ants. They waited several months for the ants to arrive (checking the mailbox anxiously each day!). And just the other day, they finally came—Christmas in April!
The boys filled their little ant farms with sand and used tubes to connect one ant farm to the other. Then they dumped the little guys inside and watched them get to work.
Yes, I’m killing ants in one part of the house and feeding them in another. Does that make sense? Only in the life of a mom!
Not only can my boys enjoy watching and feeding the pet ants, but I can use them as an object lesson.
Like most kids (and grown-ups) my little guys often battle lazy desires. They can be tempted to complain and grumble about their school and chores. But ants, as you know, are super hard workers. They scurry around, carrying sand and building tunnels.
For my boys, this is a wonderful picture of what the Lord has called them to do. He has called them to work hard—to be busy and diligent. That’s why Scripture tells them: “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”(Prov. 6:6).
Only, in our case we don’t need to “go” to the ants, they come to us—via a crack in the wall or the US Mail.