Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Grip of Envy

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30 NIV)

I grew up a fairly insecure person.  That happens when your home life is not filled with love and affection.  I had a few friends growing up, but I never ran with the popular crowd. I was a little backward socially, physically, and academically. For much of my young life, I was envious.

I was envious of those I knew who were picked first for teams, while I was picked near to last.  I wished math and science came easier to me as it seemed it did for others. In high school, I craved to be a part of the “in” crowd.  

Going into college, envy was a part of my make up.  And then I met Jesus as a 19-year-old and that began to change, very slowly.  As my confidence in His love for me grew, the more secure I became and the less I struggled with envy. However, it was a long road and there were areas of my life where envy stubbornly retained its grip—mainly in my desire for a romantic relationship and success in ministry.  Those held me for a long time, but now I am at peace because with maturity has come a proper perspective.  I no longer crave to have what others have; I am content with what the Lord has given me.

I work daily with young people who are on the same journey I have taken.  I see the insecurity and the longings they have for things that, at the moment, appear beyond their grasp—to fit in more, to have a special relationship, to have a defined career path, to live more righteously.  And I see and hear of the envy that comes with that insecurity. 

But envy is not merely a problem for the young.  Unless we recognize its grip on us, it will continue to be a problem when we’re much older. Peace will elude us because we will continue to long for what others have rather than being content with what has been given to us.  God is the giver of good gifts and our confidence in that can help us avoid living an envious life.  The Lord in His wisdom has created each of us unique and different.  Because we are created differently, we are not meant to all have the same things, whether it be the way we look, our personalities, our abilities, our station in life, etc.  God has created us to be unique and desires us to be content with that.  When we are, we will find peace.  When we are not, using the language of the proverbial writer, rot will set in and slowly eat away at our very being.

What is your thinking today?  Are you content with your life, what you have been given?  Or are you looking around at others and focusing on what they have that you do not? Know that you will only find peace when you eliminate envy from your life.  When you reach the point where you are content with your life as it is, then you will find what you have truly been longing for. 

© Jim Musser 2017 

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