Key Word:- PEACE
Title:- Three Answers To Envy
Mark 15:9,10 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
Envy has been described as a 'painful or resentful awareness of another's traits, status, abilities, or situation, joined with the desire to possess those things, or dispossess the owners of them.' Nasty eh? Very NASTY!
Over the centuries 'envy' has been described as one of the 'Seven BIG deadly sins', simply because of the seen and felt devastation it brings with it, seemingly both here and some may say, in the hereafter. I introduce these two little words, 'here and hereafter', to give us some Biblical and necessary grounds of context. Remember, there is this life and there is the after life; there is the temporal and there is the eternal; there is a now and there is the later; there is mortality and there is immortality. Need I go on?
So the Bible presents us with a distinct contextual contrast for us to understand both this world and the battle against envy. In effect, God says we must, “experience the now, in the context of that which is to come,” and that will help us in the battle against envy. Now don't get me wrong, this is not some spin on Eastern Karmic perceptions, where you either glibly and painfully accept all social station as either your Karmic destiny or some false reality to be simply ignored! No, it’s not that. Neither is it some religious 'opiate for the masses', to try and sedate their suffering and deprive them of their true happiness in this world. No, it’s neither Karmic shackles nor religious Opium induced coma, no sir, this is a very clear and very wonderful Biblical context, for the Bible says “there is a more permanent life to come; so live in light of that and it will help you to become more than a conqueror with respect to this most destructive disease called envy.”
However, the current western coaching guru says, “If you see someone better off than yourself and you wish to be like them, then improve yourself. Emulate the good and profitable things they do, so that you too may attain to what they have. Whatever that may be. After all, this is what God wants for you: Material Blessing!” Now of course, that statement by the western coaching Guru started well, but ended in the last phrase with the foundation of every Western self help tool and health, wealth and prosperity message you will ever hear, and frankly, I don't buy it friends. I just don't buy it! Our goal you see, is not material blessing.
Sure, it’s OK for us to improve ourselves and others, even though social equality is not the Christian goal either! Also I mean, c'mon, the truth is that with material improvement, social equality is rarely the true goal; self-improvement always takes precedence over social equality and the main problem we have with self improvement is that it is often to the detriment of others, which in turn, produces envy in those who do not have, and envy then grows ever bigger and like a growling mastiff, is ever and always found crouching at their door.
As a side note, I do wonder if whenever the sins of greed and repression have led to the robbery of the poor, that it is then imperative for us, the Kings of the Kingdom, to take social action for justice for the poor? For surely this Kingdom of God must be a reign of righteousness and justice? Ah maybe in this side issue, now we’re getting there! Our context must always be the Kingdom, the Kingdom which is eternal and even now touches our temporal footsteps in envy killing justice. For you see, in the Kingdom of God the poor are always catered for.
Amidst all the envy that will undoubtedly arise in our hearts at some time, from my meanderings of today, may I leave you with just three key words, three weapons, if you will, to help you in the battle:
First of all, CALLING. What has God called you to do? This calling may involve the sacrifice of those things that others find common place and necessary to happiness in this life. However, this calling may also mean the acquiring of those things which some people might find excessive and unnecessary to the enjoyment of this life. Who knows? It's between you and the Lord. The point is this: What is your calling? What does God want you to do? It is that calling within you, which you are accountable for. Follow this calling to the full and it will help to keep you from envy. Do not compare yourself with others, for you are fulfilling your own destiny with the Divine when you are following your own personal calling!
Secondly, CONTEXT. We live in a world that is passing away; a world of fleeting shadows. We sojourn through it in a body which is daily wearing out and pushing ever slowly on along the plains of pain, where we most certainly find ourselves 'nightly pitching our moving tent a days march nearer home.' It's all dust and air friends, everything. Bear this in mind. So give both your hearts desire and your current but passing situation, the right context to express itself which is in fact, this passing context of dust and air! This CONTEXT of rust and rot will always help keep you from envy.
Lastly, KINGDOM. Jesus was very clear on this, that whatever we do it should be done in the pursuance and in the eternal and permanent context of His Kingdom. When we live in the context of the Kingdom, we can be fully assured that on the testimony and stated word of Jesus, yes indeed, "all that we need shall be freely given to us." We have therefore no need of envy, for what has been needed has been given, and indeed, will be given!
Finally, in addition to these three words, in a very real sense we need to know this last terrible truth: Envy, will always at last give up Christ to be crucified, envy will always sacrifice others. So then I leave you with this terrible thought and three answers to envy today; 'Calling, Context and Kingdom.' He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Listen:- Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:17-18 .
Pray:- Dear Jesus, let me emulate You. Help me to be content in the pursuance of my calling, within the furtherance of Your kingdom, to the eternal betterment of myself and all whom I touch in this context of dust and air, in Your great name I pray, Amen.