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The Problem with Envy

by | Oct 18, 2014 | Jealousy, Thankfulness

Psalm 73:2,3 “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

I don’t like Hummers. I think they look aggressive and ugly. They use up too much gasoline and seem to display an arrogance that says to everyone else on the road, “Get out of my way or I’ll run you over.” I hate those vehicles so much that every time I see one, I shudder.

Secretly, I want to own and drive a Hummer. I want to become King of the Road and come along side other smaller cars and rev up the engine just to annoy the other drivers. I want to pull into a gasoline station and fill up the tank nonchalantly. I want to appear to be successful, rich, and powerful, with a laissez-faire attitude that would just make other drivers envy me. You just can’t do that with a mini-caravan, so I envy those who can.

Envy destroys our faith faster than a cruise missile. It gets right to the heart of our soul and starts to upset our sense of fairness and our dependence on God. Like the psalmist, we begin to feel neglected, deprived, and stupid. If we didn’t have faith, we could be successful. If we didn’t have scruples, we could do what we like. Religion keeps us back from developing our true potential. Tying our hearts to God means missing out on a lot of life’s little extras.

If you take time to read the rest of Psalm 73, you discover a change in the psalmist’s heart. Instead of dwelling on what he doesn’t have, he begins to recall God’s blessings. Very soon, he begins to realize that all the possessions, power and prestige of the rich will soon pass away. They will all be forgotten just as a dream fades away in the morning. In other words, it’s only his relationship and faith to God that is everlasting; all the rest is just temporary.

So next time I see a Hummer, I’m going to thank God for my faith in Him and the strength of our relationship. Pretty soon, I’ll be looking for more Hummers on the road to count my blessings!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are all so funny at times and sometimes we take things too seriously. Forgive our inverted pride and make us more aware of the blessings that life brings, instead of fretting over the things we do not possess. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart 
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA