Have you ever opened your closet bulging with clothes and thought, “I have nothing to wear...”
Have you ever looked into your refrigerator brimming with food and said, “There's nothing to eat...”
As sinners, we have this amazing propensity to stand in the middle of lavish blessing and feel as if we are poor and needy.
How does this happen? In a word: envy. But it starts with forgetfulness.
Envy forgets blessing, and in forgetting blessing assumes poverty, and in assuming poverty gives way to hunger, and this feeling of hunger tempts us to look to and long for what simply will not satisfy.
Have you recently experienced pangs of envy when you:
- See someone drive past in a luxury car
- Walk by the window of an upscale restaurant
- Hear about your neighbor’s vacation plans
- Interact with someone else’s spouse
- See someone else’s physique at the gym
- Scroll through your Instagram feed right before bed
It’s safe to say: if you’re a sinner, envy lurks around the corner all the time.
Wow ... You’re probably thinking, “Thanks for that encouraging devotional today, Paul!” Well, let me try to encourage you as we struggle with the reality that is envy.
There is only one way to put it: Remember what you have.
I would encourage you to sit down and literally count your blessings. Inventory everything you have; you’ll be surprised how quickly that list begins to take up multiple pages.
Think about all the people who care about you and serve you in some way. Analyze all the ways in which God’s common grace makes your life comfortable, enjoyable, and healthy.
If you look at life with a humble and thankful heart, you’ll very quickly remember that you are one who has been unfairly showered with blessing.
The most undeserved blessing, of course, is our salvation because of the sacrifice of Christ. Our Savior had it all, but was willing to forsake it all for you and me.
He walked away from glories our minds are too small to conceive so that the battle for our hearts could be won, both now and forever. We know that there will be a day when envy is no more, and we will live forever in the presence of his love, fully and completely satisfied.
Until that day, envy will be a struggle. But it’s a struggle that we don’t have to face alone. The sacrifice of Christ provides us with right here, right now grace: rescuing, restoring, empowering, forgiving, and transforming grace.
I love seeing that grace at work in Asaph’s heart as Psalm 73 progresses. He begins with, “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (v. 3). But by the end, grace has rescued and transformed him, resulting in contentment: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” (v. 25)
When you are satisfied with the Giver, because you have found in him the life you were designed for, you are freed from the ravenous quest for satisfaction that is the discouraging existence of so many people.
Our envious hearts will rest only when they have found satisfaction in him.
1. When is the last time you experienced a pang of envy? What were you “feeling hungry” for at the time?
2. What were you forgetting in the moment that allowed you to experience envy? What should you have remembered in that moment to help combat envy?
3. Sit down today or this week and literally count your blessings. Take your time and allow forgotten blessings to populate your list. What are some of those blessings that you forgot?
4. What are some small, practical steps that you can take to transition your heart from “For I was envious” to “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you”?
5. How can you be a blessing to others by serving them? Then, how can you be a blessing to others by helping them to remember what they have?