Do You Think the Grass Is Greener?
I have an embarrassing confession:
I recently ran into an old friend. After our short but pleasant conversation, which included the topics of her kids, husband, and what I have been doing in my career, she walked away with a smile and a wave. Moments after she left, I felt a surprising and disgusting emotion rise up in my heart: envy. I was shocked. Then I prayed, All right, Lord. Where is this coming from? Why do I feel this way?
God immediately revealed to me that I felt cheated. My friend had what I wanted: a family. I secretly felt deprived of what I most longed for. I opened my Bible and asked the Holy Spirit to speak to me about my heart attitude.
If you have ever wrestled with envy for any reason, here are four characteristics about it that I’d like to share with you:
Envy has a distorted view of God’s character.
Envy involves feeling cheated. Therefore, the person who envies disbelieves God’s goodness, His love, or that He is in control. When we envy, we also reject the truth that God is intimately involved in all the affairs of our life, and that we have been hemmed in “behind and before” by a loving Father who knows our name (Psalm 139).
Envy believes the lie that God’s gifts are not good enough.
Envy rejects the truth that God only gives good gifts. The person who envies denies the boundary lines–or provision–that God has given them is pleasant (Psalm 16:6). The provision that God has assigned to each of his children is actually very personal. It would be unfair for Him to treat everyone the same because it would deny the unique way He has created each one of us.
Envy believes it has been overlooked.
The heart that envies says, “What I have is not enough. God has blown it in taking care of me; I have been overlooked by Him.” To allow envy to take over our heart means not believing that God has a personal plan for us—and therefore, rejecting the unique gifts He has given.
Extreme envy is a sister with hate.
A heart that becomes consumed with envy is a heart that will hurt others to save face, dignity, possessions, prestige, or position—because an envious person feels he or she has something to prove or something to lose. The heart that envies is the heart that hates, which is contrary to the entire message of the gospel of the God who is love. But the heart that loves is the heart that can rejoice when it sees a brother or sister blessed.
Perhaps all of the above are reasons why God says we should be content with what we have because He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5-6), not to covet what others’ possess (Exodus 20:17), to remember that he raises one up and puts another one down (Psalm 75:7) and that we are loved by Jesus the way He is loved by His Father (John 15:9).
Maybe you can relate. If so, join me in this prayer that I prayed for myself:
Oh, Lord. I confess my envy and jealousy as a sign of my lack of faith and belief in your love for me! Forgive me for my attitude. Thank you for all the blessings you have given me that are uniquely mine. Thank you that you will never leave me or forsake me. Amen.
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