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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Green-Eyed Monster


“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30. NIV).

Envy. Jealousy. It is the green-eyed monster that if allowed will consume our life. Nothing good comes from envy. It springs from our carnal nature, and steals the fulfillment in life that God's spirit imparts. It kills the fruit of the spirit. Envy crucifies any love, robs our joy, and destroys our peace. Whatever patience we might have had is gone, because we are never satisfied. Whatever kindness and goodness we exemplified has departed, because we don't view another as someone to care about. We see them as someone to compare ourselves with. We have no self-control of our desire for more–we have no faithfulness that perseveres–we have no gentleness of heart because we are in a constant state of competition (Galatians 5:21-22). With envy, there is no peace.

Our verse from Proverbs basically says that peace is the exact opposite of envy. Peace gives life, and envy rots it away. When our heart and mind are at peace, we can live in His fullness. The body is at rest. There is no striving to have more or be the best at something. We can rejoice with others if they receive a blessing. Our heart is free to love, and not judge. We don't compare because there is no competition. Without all the stress of comparing and competition–when are hearts and minds are at peace, our bodies are at peace. There is life. If we are filled with envy and are always comparing our life to someone else–if what we have never seems enough–if we feel we are not the best at something, then our striving and unrest will wreck havoc on us. It will kill the spirit and the body.

“I gave you milk,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?” (1 Corinthians 3:2-3a, NIV). How immature are we? Do we still need to be treated as spiritual babies needing milk? When will we grow up and walk in the spirit instead of the flesh? Jealousy does not only destroy our spiritual life, it breeds dissension and division. Envy does not only destroy God's ability to work in us. It destroys others. Now is the time to grow up. Instead of allowing envy to crucify the Holy Spirit in us, it is time to crucify this green-eyed monster.

If God's love is in us, there is no place for envy. Love is patient, and it is kind. Love does not envy. (1 Corinthians 13:4). It does not destroy lives. Love builds. Love creates. Love sees the best. Love does not compare, and it does not compete. The time for solid food has come.

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