“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 KJV
This week, I wanted to share with you one of my recent struggles. I do enjoy writing to you, because I do believe that we face similar struggles,whether we are a Christian or not.
Nonetheless, it’s important for us to work on these struggles together. I do have some good news though! Just as seasons come and go, struggles do not always remain with us. As we waved goodbye to winter, we can celebrate the beauty of spring; a season which signifies revival, hope and growth.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 NIV
Yes! If God is able to uproot and resurrect the plants, there is hope for us to be resurrected. God can pour his Spirit upon us, He can uproot the bad habits and plant habits which are pleasing to Him.
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.1 Peter 2:1 NIV
Jealousy and Envy
Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. James 3:16 GNB
This week, I wanted to talk to you about my struggle with feelings of envy. Yes, envy! One of the seven deadliest sins. Cain was the first person in the Bible to commit murder, because God favoured Abel’s sacrifice over his.
After some time, Cain brought some of his harvest and gave it as an offering to the LORD .hen Abel brought the first lamb born to one of his sheep, killed it, and gave the best parts of it as an offering. The LORD was pleased with Abel and his offering, but he rejected Cain and his offering. Cain became furious, and he scowled in anger. Genesis 4:3-5 GNB
Its always important for me to remind myself that I will always be tempted by the devil. I was a member of his kingdom, it is his desire for me to return. I must always be alert and watchful, for if temptations are acted on he will win.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 NIV
My BC (Before Christ) Life
Envy- “To desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable thing belonging to someone else.”
I was never one to be envious of a person’s success because I was determined, overconfident and over ambitious. I would say that in someway I felt that I was God, because I sometimes forgot that it was Him who gave me the ability to accomplish everything.
So then, you must never think that you have made yourselves wealthy by your own power and strength. Remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to become rich. He does this because he is still faithful today to the covenant that he made with your ancestors. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 GNB
I spent many years preparing my mother for my riches! Everything else had to be placed on the back burner, until I felt contented. That time never came.
“Those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9
Upon reflection, my desire for extravagance stemmed from my love for the things of the world. I longed for the finer things in life. You’re probably thinking, so what’s wrong with this? Well, Christians believe that Jesus was poor, he was humble and he sacrificed himself for us. Can you imagine if Jesus desired the finer things too! He might have said, “Die on which cross? I need to develop my carpentry skills to build my mansion at age thirty three.” We thank God for Jesus! Let us be more like him, Oh Lord .
My liking for finer things consumed my life. My favourite television series was “Being Mary Jane”, a successful single black female, who had it all, but was so unhappy. I wanted that luxurious lifestyle! Most of my actions were influenced by the media, but I couldn’t see it then. Ultimately, it lead to selfishness and unhappiness.
” You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. Yo do not have, because you do not ask. James 4: 2
When I became a Christian, that strong desire for wanting the material things of the world disappeared. I do have hopes and dreams, but I no longer allow these dreams to control my life. My priorities have changed; my greatest desire is to seek God first.
My Christian Life
A few weeks ago, the feelings of envy returned in another form. The enemy came with the intent to create confusion within my marriage.
My husband and I believed in God, but we never had a personal relationship with Him. It was in my fight for my life, I found Christ and commenced my worship in church. My husband never had this encounter for himself, therefore I felt that it was important not to force him to attend church with me. My daily prayer consists of asking God to use me to steer my husband towards Him, then God will do the rest..
In the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. o show him the way, for him to see God in a personal way. 1 Peter 3: 1-6
I felt this way for quite a long time, until recently. As I looked around the church, I was filled with envy as I watched couples worshipping together. Where did this come from? I wanted that for myself! You see how the devil tries to distract you from the message of God. He wanted me to become resentful towards my husband and those around me.
Thankfully, I saw what was happening, so I called on Jesus. I realised that I felt hurt because my other half did not love God the way I did and in my heart I truly wanted him to see God’s power. I asked God to uproot these feelings and He heard my call.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NIV
Praise the LORD , the God of Israel! He alone does these wonderful things. Psalms 72:18 GNB
It took this scripture and another to change my perspective (your girl can’t find the other scripture, but this is good too). Anyways, I made a list of all the wonderful things that God had done in my life and it was an eye opener. As I looked at my life, there were little miracles all around. I had forgotten the wonderful changes which have taken place in my marriage, I was too busy focusing on the ones He is working on. I felt ungrateful.
This revelation has taught me about the importance of being patient and waiting on God. I must focus on what God had done for us, instead of what is yet to be done. I am also mindful of how I respond to situations which I cannot control, as others are looking at my responses as well. If I want people to see God’s power, then it be first seen in me.
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 1 Corinthians 3:3
I don’t have to be an ordained minister to talk about God or praise Him in my home. I can do this with my other half, until God is ready for him to take that next step. The Bible reminds us that where two or three are gathered in God’s name, God will be there ( Matthew 18: 20 NIV).
I will continue to praise my God everyday, including Sundays at church, because my salvation means more to me than anything else in this world. I will not worry or be envious. When the angel told Mary that she will bear a son, she didn’t worry about Joseph. We later see God sending an angel to work on him. Mary did not even have to explain what was happening. This gives me reassurance.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20 NIV
I don’t know what struggle you might be facing. If you’re seeing this message, be ever so grateful, there is someone who was born without sight or has just lost their sight. Instead of focusing on what God is doing for others, open your eyes and count all the blessings around you.
Say, ” Lord, if I am ever envious, please forgive me for being so ungrateful”
I pray that God will uproot any feelings of envy or any other deadly sins within your bodies. I ask God to plant: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in your hearts.
God please let us share the fruits of your spirit with Christians and unbelievers, for we are all your children.
My final prayer is that we learn to trust God, for he sets the timing for everything in the heavens and the earth. It is God who knows it all.
May God continue to drop you little miracles each day, may God bless and keep you always.