The Seven Deadly Sins
I can’t find the phrase “Seven Deadly Sins” anywhere in the Bible and neither will you. This list has long been in use however and was categorized by the early church leaders to help Believers better understand the directions that evil temptation can take; to encourage us to self-assess – looking for evidence of them in our living – and then ultimately as a means of pointing us toward the godly virtues which must be learned and applied to combat these sins in our lives. In the coming weeks Restart will offer instruction on each of the seven. The first message was about Pride. And although the video from the message was mangled I would recommend you read my preaching notes. It will only take a few minutes and you can get at them by mashing this link: right here. The remaining six:
What is Envy?
Evvy is a resentful desire – not just wanting a thing – though that is part – but resenting that someone else has it That’s what sets envy apart. Those who follow Restart Church know we are all about self-assessment
- Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith;examine yourselves! – 2 Corinthians 13:5
But there can be no meaningful self-examination unless it is Bible based; and Bible guided. And this is the purpose for our study on Envy – to learn, to assess, and to apply Bible Truth to do battle against the deadly evil of Envy. So the first question that occurs to me is: How do I recognize Envy at work in me? Christ said:
- Each tree is recognized by its own fruit – Luke 6:44
Envy is a Three Part Fruit
Envy affects (1) your position with others, (2) your position with God – and as a result – (3) God’s position with you. Each of the three have a root cause which looks like this:
- Your position with another
- Covetousness – Intense Craving
- Your position with God
- Anger at God’s Failed provision
- God’s position with you
- Jealousy at being replaced
Covetousness – Intense Craving
Covetousness is an intense craving for what another has; or what they’ve achieved – and with resentment at them for having it. Resentment is restless – it needs and outworking; a target – and whether you know it or not; when you resent what others have.
Covetousness is counting your neighbors’ blessings instead of your own.
The Commandant reads:
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor – Exodus 20:17
Nothing in his house; not his most personal relationships, not his secondary relationships, nor his possessions; in fact nothing other’s have is ours to want. I mentioned that covetousness and envy are restless. When you covet something; it changes you – it makes you take action – it will not leave you alone. Notice in the verse below that coveting cannot be still – when you want somebody’s something – you leave where you are to life in the gray area. You find yourself beginning to gossip, to subterfuge; to expend your own resources to keep up – in short your craving will change you
- They covet fields and then seize them, And houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, A man and his inheritance – Micah 2:2
Covetousness always begins with making comparisons with others.
- …when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding – 2 Corinthians 10:12
When we measure ourselves against ourselves we use the wrong measuring stick. The measure is not one with another – but contentment with what we have. The measure is not what they have – but to satisfaction with what we have.
- But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment – 1 Timothy 6:6
- But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that – 1 Timothy 6:8
Anger at God’s failed provision
The second fruit – or evidence to note about Envy is that it is a condemnation on what God is doing for you. How He isn’t taking care of you; how His lack of provision is evident by what others have and you don’t. In effect we are also saying – what God has given me is not enough – I am not satisfied and this – and varying levels – translates to anger with God.
- The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food” – Numbers 21:5
They spoke against God because He didn’t give them what they wanted. It’s really weird when you consider God had provided water, manna, and quail to them. There was provision. Yet they griped and first say He gave them no food and no water – but them later toned it back some by calling when He gave them “miserable.” They spoke out in anger.
- Then they spoke against God; They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness” – Psalm 78:19
Here’s an additional insight in the psalms about Israel in the wilderness. Notice they don’t simply want to be cared for. They want a “table” – with steak knives, linen and crystal goblets. They are like you and I. Wanting more; not seeing God sufficient care of us – be stand on the doorway of doubt. We see what others have; – we see what we don’t have; we crave the difference. We turn to anger (at some level) maybe we shake the fist – maybe we don’t – but what happens is doubt begins to settle in. Can God prepare a table for me? Will He? Is He mad at me? Does He even see the difficulties I am having? And doubt, my Friends, is a curse.
- So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life – Deuteronomy 28:66
Envy always leads to unrighteous doubts – not like “help Lord my unbelief” – but doubts that make us turn from the Jesus Path. Doubt leads to dread – no assurances – no peace – a life driven and tossed:
- The one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind – James 1:6
I doubt God can (or wants) do for me; I’m mad that he did for others and not me. All this from the fruit of envy.
Jealousy at being replaced
The last of our three insights into Envy is not a characteristic of Envy, but a consequence of it. The first two are: (1) your position with others and (2) your position with God. But the third is (3) God’s position with you. And that is God feels jealous that you have replaced Him. The Word instructs that you shall have no substitute for God – your cravings; your lust and wantings for other things are substitutes for Him. You trade your relationship with Him for other things you do not have.
- You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God – Exodus 20:5
- Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done, with the sins which they committed – 1 Kings 14:22
They replaced God with “with the sins which they committed’ – they craved deeply and chose another path and provoked Him to jealousy. Now before you gripe that this is a bunch of “Old Testament” hooey…
- He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us – James 4:5
The question then readily becomes:
- What do you substitute for God in your life?
- What is taking His place in your daily living?
Okay – if you’ve answered this in your heart – what are you going to do about it? What is the antidote for envy. If it’s present in your life; with what do you battle it?
The Antidote for Envy is Contentment
I have three insights for you about contentment.
Take others as they are
- Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God – Romans 15:7
We are here instructed to accept one another – accept that someone else has more; or has achieved more; has whatever it is that would begin to arouse your envy. Praise God for them. And for what reason should we accept that folks have more than we do? The verse says to the “Glory of God.” Give glory to God for taking such fine care of them; pray that their possessions might not blind them from the Jesus Path. Accept them and what they have.
Remember Who God is
We have to remember Who God is – Who we are dealing with – He is in control – we are the clay, He is the potter.
- Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’? – Isaiah 45:9
God knows what is best for your situation; your needs (and wants) at all times of life. His ideas for you are solid and cannot be affect by anyone!
- But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ – Daniel 4:35
These verses as not a threat – God is going to hammer you. But a great and wonderful assurance that what you have, what is happening to you, your needs and concerns are all in the Hands of One Who cannot be turned from His determination to help you.
- For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back? – Isaiah 14:21
We are in His hands and nothing can stop what He is accomplishing in and through you! This is an upbeat verse for those on the Jesus Path!
Valuing what God Values
Our last insight into doing battle against Envy by fostering contentment is that we must begin to value what God values. To learn from His Word the things important to Him and to strive to accept and practice them. This will bring true contentment and spell the death of Envy.
- The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes – Psalm 19:8
When we learn to value what God values our heart will learn to rejoice without the envy of the world butting in. When our eyes will become enlightened as to the Way we take and what behaviors promote or thwart our progress. Jesus said:
- Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls – Matthew 11:29
Step away from the drudgery of the pick and axe – pull away from the frustrations of comparing your situations with others – Of looking about you and finding deficits in your own living which foster the evil spawn of envy. The Yoke of Jesus are the values and life prescriptions He identifies in the Word – He is the Word.
The Antidote for envy is contentment which is gained in great measure when we (1) take others as they are, (2) remember Who God is and (3) learn to value what God values. These spell the death of Envy. I pray that you will self-assess and root out all traces of this belligerent sin, Envy. The God of Peace Bless you in your efforts to live righteously!