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Envy

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

…love does not envy…

1 Corinthians 13:4

Contentment makes poor men rich, Discontent makes rich men poor.” ― Benjamin Franklin

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Green with Envy

January 21, 2012 Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 13:4 “…love doesn’t envy…”

So who here has been envious before?  I think we’ve all traveled that road before.  Some of you might be in the middle of an envious journey right now.  Why do you think that envy is listed here in Paul’s description of perfect love…God’s love?  What do you think envy has to do with the love God wants us to have and live out?

Let’s make a quick review.  All through the Bible we hear about God’s love.  We also hear how He wants us to love others.  We know that in Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus was ask what the greatest commandment is and He responds with two.  We are to love God with everything we have and we are to love others as ourselves. Paul, here in his letter to the Corinthian church, describes for us what this love looks like.  Envy is not a part of God’s love, therefore, we a called to rid our lives of envy as well.

Ok, as the saying goes, this is easier said than done.  But let’s look at the benefits of not having envy. You might worry less about that rust spot on the car.  You react differently when you see that person in the fashion commercial.  You might see your savings account go up faster.  Certain things that keep you in a worried state of mind might just go away.  You ask what do I mean when I say these things?  When you see other people’s cars, those cars that are brighter, faster, sleeker, and smell newer, you don’t begin to be that other person or have what they have.  Whey you see that fashion commercial with the supermodel, you might stop wondering if everyone in your office area thinks you weigh too much or have the wrong hairdo.  When you see the newest gadgets and gizmos other people have, you might not run out and buy one of them just to keep up.  When you lay your head down at night, you might not worry about all the things you need to do or change to be as hip as those people you’re going to be with the next day.

Envy robs us.  Envy robs us of peace and contentment.  Envy keeps us in a ‘wanting’ state of mind.  Envy of people and things can be seen in heard in many commercials we see and hear…some of it not hidden at all.  Some companies even say it…”You’ll be the envy of all your friends”…if you buy our product and think negatively of yourself until you do so.  Envy keeps us thinking about us.

Now, lets jump back to the great commandment as it calls us to love God and love others as ourselves. If you have envy in your life, it’s extremely hard to “love others as yourself.”  You’ll spend more time on you.  You’ll spend more money on you.  You’ll see the people around you in stereotypical boxes…haves and have nots.  Your world may very well be designed around your envy of another person’s life rather than your own.

What does lack of envy open us up to do?  Love.  Wait…can it be that simple?  Yes.  When you stop envying others and their things, you think more about their needs…and your ability to meet those needs.   When you’re thinking about how you can meet their needs, you’re heart may very well be lining up with the heart of God.  Envy is selfish.  Love is always about the other person.  Envy robs.  Godlike love gives…and gives…and gives.  And when God can begin to give through a humble servant, that servant experiences contentedness and peace like they never have before.

Saying all this helps me think that getting envy out of our lives with help people see God through us in a much less hindered way.  In effect, God will be able to use us and our lives to bless other people and eternally change their lives. Picture a church family who doesn’t envy.  Picture what they look like through the week.  Picture how they serve their local community. Wow!  If all of us can get on the same page about getting envy out of our lives, our ability to change our choices to love others will drastically change.  I believe that others will truly see God and His grace.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

Questions for Growth:

  • Are there areas of your lives that are driven by envy?  (money, things, personality traits, etc.)
  • What do you think would change if you didn’t have envy in the specific area that you struggle with? (more time, more savings, less stress, less worry, more ability to serve)
  • Do you see other people who’s lives are directed by envy?  In what ways do you see them weighed down?
  • Do you see people who are not directed by envy?  How are they more open to serve and be directed by God?
  • What will you do this week to turn this around if indeed this is an area that holds you back from doing well with Jesus’ commandments to love the Lord and love our neighbors?

The Anatomy of a Grudge

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Genesis 27


HUSBAND: When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?

WIFE : I clean the toilet….

HUSBAND: How does that help ?

WIFE : I use your toothbrush.

Anger. Resentment. Jealousy. Threats. Trickery. Manipulation. Deception. Sounds like words that may be splashed across a new thriller movie trailer. Nope, it’s just words describing this little story in the account of Jacob and Esau. Isaac is the lone person here who doesn’t seem to do anything wrong. Jacob, Esau and Rebekah are guilty as charged.

Long story short, Jacob is encouraged by his mom to steal his brother’s blessing from his old and blind father. After successfully seeing this task through, Esau then plans to commit murder. Rebekah has seen her wish come true, that her younger son would receive the God given blessing of the family. Isaac is ticked that he’s been lied to. Esau is overwhelmed with the thoughts that he has now lost twice. The first time in the kitchen with his brother when he gave away his inheritance, and the now the second as he has lost his father’s death bed blessing. Jacob then has to flee, hearing from his mom, the informant, that Esau is going to kill him. Talk about family baggage.

The only good thing here is that even in the midst of all this corruption and orneriness, God still uses this family to continue the Abrahamic blessing. God works through all of their problems and sinfulness to keep His Righteous plan on track. Would there or could there have been a better way? Maybe. Remember though that this was foretold in Genesis 25 when God told Rebekah that this would all take place…and her own hands helped the situation. Was it her helping God’s plan come true, or was it her love of the younger son that blinded her to compassion for both? Who knows? But what we do know is that Jacob ends up traveling through the land that God has promised his family as he escapes his brother’s murder bent anger, and Esau ends up marrying into Ishmael’s family. How ironic! What a story line.

Leadership point. Always watch for where God is headed and follow. We know that God is using this family to bless all nations…even though there is sin and deception and pride. God also wants to use us, even though we are sinful, deceptive and often full of self. Anger could always step in the way and raise its ugly head. It is up to us to keep a clear head and conscience. From the story we see that God does not stop His will from happening simply because He has to work with a messed up family. He works in spite of them. The same is true of us. I do, however, believe that God would much rather work with us when we have dealt with our own weaknesses, such as anger and selfishness.

When anger bites and we give in, we lose all potential for allowing peace to work in any situation. I’m not talking about being angry with something that is wrong. I’m talking about when anger causes us to hate, ruin, connive, gossip, ….etc. Is this what “love your neighbor as yourself” encourages? Obviously not. God wants us to steer clear of allowing anger to rule our soul. When it is there controlling us, God isn’t. God wants us to yield to Him so that we can become and stay a vehicle for blessing all around us, as Abraham was promised.

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