To get rid of a weed you must snuff it out from the root; the same is true of sin. The 7 Deadly Sins is an old, tested and proved list of some of sins roots, the roots that need to die in our lives. Last post I wrote about Pride and this post I want to aim our spiritual Roundup at Envy.
Envy as defined by the Google dictionary is, as a noun, "a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities or luck", or as a verb, "a desire to have a quality, possession or other attribute belonging to someone else."
Envy wants what someone else has and wants it so bad that it is willing to beg for, steal from or beat it out of them... or at bear minimum sit around and have a pity party. As Joe Rigney puts it in Killjoys: the Seven Deadly Sins "Envy weeps at those who rejoice and rejoices over those who weep." The green eyed monster named Envy is not satisfied and quite frankly it never will be. The Rolling Stones described it very aptly in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" you can try and try and try but if you're trying to get satisfaction from things other than God you will never will and if you envy the satisfaction of others you'll at best be miserable and at worst be destructive.
So, how do we root up Envy? Well, I can think of three ways.
1) Click Like.
Millions of us are on Facebook. Social media offers the envious plenty to envy: trips, girlfriends, children, new jobs, houses, cars, days off, etc. There are innumerable reasons to be envious online and off-line. The enemy is not social media or any other vehicle of envy; the enemy is Envy itself. So, instead of Envy, chose to like. Literally and figuratively click like at the success of others.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice" Romans 12:15
Do you like the success and happiness of others or do you envy it? Choose to like it. Be a cheerleader of the success of others rather than a critic. Because as C. S. Lewis said in The Screwtape Letters "He (God) wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognize all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things."
2) Count Your Own Blessings.
Examine and enjoy the grace of God in your own life. Ask, "What might someone else be envying abut me?" I'm sure that you have loads of blessings for which to be thankful. Especially remember that if you are a Christian you are a child of God and a joint heir with Christ! Why envy someone's musical ability or new puppy when you've been given stake in the very riches of the Creator of the universe?
Another Joe Rigney quote hammers this point home. "I am not defined by the blessings of others; I am defined by the grace of God."
3) Run to the Cross
The final way I know to defeat envy is to trust the Gospel. The Gospel is, in part, that Jesus promises to defeat ALL sin, including envy. Trust Him to do so. Run to the Cross of Christ and ask forgiveness for the envy in your heart and ask God to cure you of it.
So, here are three things I want you to do. First, confess your envy to the One who promises to forgive you for it and cure you of it. Second, think about at least a few way in which you are blessed. Finally, I'm asking you to celebrate the goodness in someone else's life. This may be by writing them a Facebook message that lets them know of your excitement for them, or by praising God for something great in their life, or by telling them about an attribute in their lives that you admire.
Bottom line: don't be defined by the blessings of others; be defined by the grace of God today.