Day 138: May 18, 2023

Envy is a Life and Peace-Stealer

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (Proverbs 14:30, ESV)

For Insight

Envy and jealousy are often defined and categorized as the very same emotion, however, though they are similar in meaning they are not the same. To be jealous of someone or something means we feel threatened by them. We feel as though they are a threat to take something away from us that we consider or believe belongs to us. That is wide open because though we may feel something belongs to us does not mean it does. Sometimes that feeling is baseless.

To be envious means we are coveting what someone else has: that new car or beautiful home, that position at work, someone’s family, spouse, talents, spiritual gifts, wealth, status, or so on.

While neither one of these emotions are healthy and can lead to destruction of relationships, cause us to struggle with mental health, and separate us from God’s peace, Solomon writes that envy has a way of inviting physical sickness into our body. He says envy can make our bones rot. Meaning envy can open us up not only to dis-ease in our spirit but disease in our body. Envy can consume us to the point of causing health problems, cancers, heart problems, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and eventually kill us.

A warning about coveting is included in the Ten Commandments when God said, “do not covet your neighbor’s house, spouse, field, animals or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17) God knew that coveting could lead to other sins such as stealing, lying, cheating, and fraud. Coveting is also idolatry. When we covet, we are not content with what God has given us and we are saying to God he is not sufficient to meet our needs and his blessings for us are inadequate and of poor quality. When we covet, we accuse God of not having our best interest in mind or knowing what is good and fitting for us.             

Jesus said the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy but Jesus comes to give us life with abundance (John 10:10). It’s easy to see how the devil can use an emotion such as envy and all it brings to accomplish his purposes of theft, destruction, and death in our life.

One sure indication that we have truly made our home in Jesus and Jesus in us is that we will not struggle with the emotion of coveting. Not because we are working hard or intentionally not breaking the tenth commandment but because coveting is not in our heart. We are not only satisfied with what the Lord gives us and happy for others with the things they have but we have that “tranquil” heart Solomon wrote in Proverbs. We have the same attitude as David when he wrote, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Ps 16:5-6)

When we make our home in Jesus, we discipline our spirit and teach our soul to be satisfied with what the Lord sends or brings to us. We have everything we need because God has shaped our needs and we are satisfied with that. Sickness may come to us in this life because the body is constantly decaying once we are born. Bodily sickness cannot always be averted no matter how good of care we take, but sickness that comes through an emotion such as envy can be avoided by learning to be content in Christ, by cultivating a thankful heart for what the Lord gives us, by accepting the boundary lines God has earmarked for us, and by receiving the tranquil heart or peace that comes from abiding in Christ.

 Jesus, I never want to covet what others have nor open myself up to the diseases and death that it brings. Search me, O Lord and show me if there is anything in me that is not only displeasing to you but harmful for me and my eternity with you. Amen

Ask Yourself

Is there anything someone else has or owns that you secretly covet in your heart?

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