Little Fox - Envy
James 3 13 - 16
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ doesn't come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
The concept of envy, as illuminated by scripture, underscores the profound significance of gratitude and thankfulness to God in all circumstances. When an individual ceases to express gratitude, it opens the door to discontent, ushering in a corrosive spirit of envy and covetousness. This goes beyond mere desire; it encapsulates a deep-seated resentment or jealousy towards what others possess. Scripture warns against harboring such feelings, as they can lead to destructive consequences, both indirect and direct. The biblical admonition is clear: "But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."
The apostle Paul provides a profound antidote to envy: cultivating godliness coupled with contentment. He emphasizes that true wealth is not measured by material possessions, as we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of it. The essence of contentment is beautifully captured in his words: "But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." This call to contentment serves as a powerful reminder to appreciate the basic necessities of life and find satisfaction in them.
Envy, fueled by a deficit in contentment and gratitude, possesses the capacity to dismantle the intricate fabric of families. This destructive force often propels individuals towards ill-advised decision-making, marked by an unrelenting pursuit of material possessions or elevated social status. Concurrently, envious sentiments frequently materialize as unhealthy competition within familial relationships. Rather than commemorating each other's achievements, family members may find themselves locked in a disheartening rivalry, each striving to surpass and undermine the other. Additionally, envy can instigate financial strains within families, driven by an aspiration for possessions or a lifestyle exceeding their financial means. This strain arises as they endeavor to meet perceived societal expectations, exposing the corrosive nature of envy on familial harmony.
Learning to be content and grateful becomes a safeguard against these destructive tendencies, fostering an environment within families that prioritizes appreciation for what is present rather than a relentless pursuit of what others may have. In essence, the teachings encourage a shift in focus from the pursuit of worldly possessions to a deeper appreciation for the blessings already bestowed, fostering harmony and peace within the family unit.
Heavenly Father, we come before you seeking your protection and guidance against the destructive force of envy. Guard our hearts against discontent and covetousness. Fill us with gratitude for your blessings, that we may find contentment in your provision. Grant us the strength to celebrate the success and blessings of others, resisting the seeds of jealousy. Let your love and contentment reign in our hearts, that we may walk in the light of your peace. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
By Pastor Dee