Thursday, June 11, 2015

Envy is Destructive

Chuckle: A preacher up in the Adirondacks went to church one Sunday morning. The pastor called on him to pray. He replied -- "Pray yourself, I'm on vacation!"
Quote: "As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a man." --Chrysostom
    "Do not covet your neighbor's house. Do not covet your neighbor's wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else your neighbor owns" (Exodus 20:17 NLT: one of the Ten Commandments).
Coveting is having a strong desire to have the possessions of someone else. Such desire goes far beyond merely admiring a person's possessions or thinking, "I really would like to have one of those." When you covet, you can easily progress to the point of resenting the person who has what you don't -- this is envy. When we envy, we transfer our feelings of desire for a person’s possessions to resentment against the person.
Do you know someone you envy for what he or she has, or the praise he or she has received, or the success he or she has attained? God saw that such feelings could arise in the hearts of his people. He knew that coveting is such a destructive force that he chose to deal with it in one of the Ten Commandments. God knows that possessions alone can never bring lasting happiness. He also knows that greed, jealousy, covetousness, and envy can destroy relationships among his people and between his people and himself.
Not only can such desires take away our joy, they can lead us to commit other sins such as adultery and stealing -- both of which are also forbidden in the Ten Commandments. In our society, we often see violence perpetrated against someone by a criminal driven by envy. But envy can easily create bitterness and destroy relationships among believers as well. Being covetous and envious is a counter-productive exercise since God is able to provide what we really need, even if He chooses to stop short of giving us everything we want. To avoid being envious, we need to practice being content with what we have. 
"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little." (Philippians 4:11-12 NLT). Once Satan gains a foothold in your life by creating envy in your heart, he can destroy your joy, contentment, and peace that God wants you to have, and it can keep you from being the holy person God wants you to be.
There is a fable that Satan's agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every attempt had met with failure; so Satan, angered with the incompetence of his subordinates, became personally involved in the case. He said, "The reason you have failed is that your methods are too crude for one such as this. Watch this." He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered softly in his ear, "Your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria." Instantly the holy man's face showed that Satan had been successful: a great scowl formed over his mouth and his eyes tightened up. "Envy," said Satan, "is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness."
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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