(Transcript Dec 2009) Thomas Doggett valleyoftheson.com
As we approach Christmas many begin to turn their focus on “All I want for Christmas” I don’t know about you but Jesus is all that I need for Christmas (He’s my reason for the season He’s my focus) - Philippians 4:19 says “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. There is only one thing I need more than all that I need and that is Jesus – If you have Him as your treasured possession you have it all – In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and we are complete in Him -Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have -We spend all of our lives “looking” for what we think we need; until we realize that it is staring us right back in the faceand that’s Jesus
There are two words I would like for you to keep in mind as I share this message this morning. They are almost-but-not-quite identical. One is the word jealousy; the other is the word Envy. One of the characters in Dr. Seuss’s books is the Grinch,a creature who cannot bear the sight of anyone enjoying him or herself without becoming so mad that he bites himself. A jealous and envious person feels “displeasure and ill-will at the happiness, success, reputation, or the possession of that person.
If you look up both words in the dictionary, you will find definitions that are similar but not identical. Jealousyis the Fearthat you will lose something valuable to you(example: Boy friend afraid someone might take his girlfriend, job, position, a title – You stop loving when you are jealous (you bite yourself in fear)There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” I John 4:18
Envyis the Anger you feel because someone else got what you wanted (NOW! you bite the person).Jealousy is Fear, Envy is Anger. Two sides of a coin -When you have one; you almost always have the other. Jealousy is usually first with envy trailing close behind. This will not be a soft message this morning. Across the pulpits of America I’m hearing messages preached that are non-offensive, they don’t want to offend the saints of God. I make no apologies for God’s Word. I cannot help it if your soul gets smitten by the logos (Word) Apostle Paul said in Galatians 4:16 – “Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth”
In Exodus 20:5 bible says God is a jealous God in the positive sense, and his people are to be jealous for the glory of God. A Christian who is not jealous for the Lord is like a dead fish that can only float downstream. We must be alive!We can also be jealous, positively, when we emulate good people. That is what I do. When I see a successful person, I put myself under him and learn from him. Any wise person will do the same. We are not jealous of the person, but we are jealous in the good sense of emulating him. In 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 14:1, 12, and 39 we are exhorted to zealously desire spiritual gifts. Earnestly desire! God is not going to give us spiritual gifts when we do not seek them. God has gifts for his people, but he is not going to give them to those who have no interest in them. We must desire them earnestly, eagerly, and intensely, with singleness of heart. “Seek you first the Kingdom of God”
But jealousy can also have a negative sense. A jealous person will say, “I don’t like that person having such an advantage over me (I’m fearful – that they will do better than me) . It’s a pain for me to see him doing better than me he or she is always number one.” – So he or she bites himself! – Look at her hair she must have gotten it off the dresser this morning –Look at those cheap shoes – I hope she breaks a nail – He can’t preach, the pastor should have let me preach! Jealousy turns to hared and now you bite the person! Proverbs 4:23 –says we are to keep our heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life!
The Latin word for “envy”is invideo or invider, meaning: “to look with ill-will at someone.”Romans 1:29 tells us that envy is the fruit of a depraved and twisted mind. It is the nature of an unregenerate person. Galatians 5:21 says envy is the work of the flesh, not the fruit of the Spirit, and 1 Corinthians 3:3 says it is a sign of worldliness. Show me an envious person, and I will show you a worldly person who loves to conform to the world in everything while showing no interest in the Kingdom of God. –True Christian believers have the power to live right talk right walk right and the power to conduct themselves in a manner that pleases God in all things – We don’t act like the world we are new creation in Christ Jesus –
It is the sin no one will confess. In the 40 years of being involved in ministry, I have listened as people have confessed almost every sin known to mankind, including murder, adultery, theft, abortion, and all sorts of sexual deviation. But no one has ever said, Pastor, I want to confess my sin of envy.” Envy is a sin we don’t like to talk about. It is the sin of Exodus 20:17 the Tenth Commandment – “thou shall not covet”
Envy is a sin with no redeeming features. There is nothing good about envy, nothing to justify its existence. If you lust, you may find some momentary pleasure. If you are a glutton, you may eat a big meal. If you are guilty of sloth, you’ll get plenty of rest. And even if you are angry, you’ll get a few moments of psychological pleasure when you blow your top. But envy brings no rewards at all. It is a self-mutilating sin. It has all the beauty of a trapped rat gnawing its foot off in a desperate attempt to escape. ThisSin will take U further than U want 2 go, & cost U more than U want 2 pay
Envy is the sin of moderately successful people. While it is true that anyone can envy, this sin especially strikes those who have made it partway up the ladder of life. You’ve climbed a few rungs up but you still have a long way to go. Envy strikes us when we realize that we’re at least as good as the people ahead of us and many times we’re clearly better than they are (we think), so why are they still ahead of us?
Turn to Proverbs 73 –
Envy is a sin that makes us believe the worst about others. Envy causes us to doubt the motives of those who are kind to us and to attack those who succeed instead of us. It is a cancer of the soul that destroys our ability to see others objectively.
Here’s another simple definition. Envy is unhappiness at the success of others and pleasure at the suffering of others. When we envy, we’re sad when others are glad and glad when they are sad. The values of life are turned upside down. Envy doesn’t love! It Hates!
In Romans 13:13 Paul says envy is a work of darkness. Our Lord’s brother James says it is the work of the devil himself (James 3:14-15) Turn in your Bibles to James. In Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus says that envy comes out of an evil heart and makes a man unclean. It is the pus that oozes from an infected wound.
What are the companions of envy?Where there is envy, there will also be hatred, malice, slander, murder, and so on. Malice and envy are within, but slander is the outward manifestation of this inward rottenness.
Jealousy may be passive, but envy is active. So while a jealous person bites him or her self at the success of another, an envious man or woman bites and devours the successful man. He speaks evil of a good man with the intent of killing him by killing his reputation. One way you make a tall man short is to cut his legs out from under him by destroying his reputation
The envious man writes letters, talks on the telephone, sends emails, and uses the Internet, all to destroy the reputation of a good man or good woman. The envious woman would love to take a razor blade and cut and disfigure, if possible, the face of the more beautiful woman in her class. The envious woman will steal the boyfriend of the girl she envies. The envious man would like to set ablaze the more expensive home of the neighbor, if possible. The envious person will try to destroy the better marriage of the neighbor by evil speech or gossip and try to get the other person fired from her better job. -
So envy is active—active in the destruction of the more successful. Jealousy says, “I want to have what the other has.” But envy says, “I want to deprive the other of what he has, and what I don’t have.”Then envy goes further, saying, “I want to kill this other person who is better than myself—if not physically, at least by destroying his or her reputation.” Envy is of the devil.
Envious people are full of selfish ambition. They always put others down and put themselves forward. The envious rejoices in the bad news of others and grieves over the good news. It is the exact opposite of the biblical command given to us in 1 Corinthians 12:26. And in moral theology, envy is a deadly sin. We are told such people will never inherit the kingdom of God Turn and read (Galatians 5:20-21).Satan is the motivating force behind this disobedience
Envious people are always unhappy. It is difficult for them to smile and laugh with sincerity. Envy is the absence of love, for Paul tells us, “Love . . . does not envy” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Where there is envy, there is no Holy Spirit.
Because envy still dwells in the hearts of Christians, we can deduce that envy is in the church. Thus, we must be aware of envy and its self- and other-destructive power. Envy is a cancer of the spirit and body that causes the envious person to waste away. The Bible, therefore, exhorts us to rid ourselves of all jealousy and envy (1 Peter 2:1), that we may enjoy spiritual and physical health.
II. Envy Illustrated
Cain and Abel.In Genesis 4:3-7 Listen to the commentary of John in 1 John 3:12-13: “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.” Cain was envious that God accepted his brother’s sacrifice but not his. He was angry and refused to pay heed to God’s counsel to do right. Envy is active. Envy kills, so he killed his brother. The modern day Cains try to kill their spiritual brothers, not physically, but by destroying their reputation.
2. Joseph.Genesis 37:4 tells us, “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Verse 8 says: “His brothers said to him, ‘Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” And verse 11 says: “His brothers were jealous of him . . . .”
This is sibling envy. (I talked with a man in his late forties who hasn’t spoken to his brother in 40 years and he cannot remember the real reason why) – We need to rid sibling envy in our homes! The brothers of Joseph hated him for his spirituality and upright moral stance. They hated him because it was God’s plan that he be the ruler. They were ready to kill him for that, but they could not, also because of God’s plan. So they stripped him of his long robe, threw him into a pit, and sold him as a slave. That is what envy does.
3. Saul and David.The classic example of envy is found in 1 Samuel 18. It ripped Sauls heart out when he heard the young women of Israel celebrated Davids great victory - They sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.” Saul hated that song Then the evil spirit inspired Saul to kill David, so he tried twice to nail him to the wall with his spear. Envy is active. Envy kills. The next time you defeat Goliath and you hear the crowd singing your praises, don’t let it go to your head. Somewhere in the shadows, Saul is listening, too.
5. Two prostitutes and Solomon.I recall the story of two prostitutes who came to the wise King Solomon. These women had given birth to sons, three days apart, but one mother accidentally killed her son. So during the night, she took the dead one and exchanged it for the living son of the other mother. Both women came to wise Solomon to settle the dispute, and he ordered the live baby to be cut in two. First Kings 3 reveals the heart of an envious woman: “The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, ‘Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!’ But the other said, ‘Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!’” (Verse 26)That is the nature of envy. It kills.
6. The Jewish people.Why did the Jewish people hand Jesus Christ over to Pilate to be crucified? In Matthew 27:18 we read: “[Pilate] knew it was out of envythat they had handed Jesus over to him” -Jesus was the Holy One, the Son of God. He was holiness incarnate; there was no sin in him. He went about doing good: healing the sick, cleansing lepers, casting out demons, raising the dead, and teaching the truth of the kingdom of God. Multitudes followed him everywhere, and the authorities—the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the scribes, the Herodians, and the priests—grew envious of him. They could not bear the fact that Jesus was a holy man, superior to them. So they handed Jesus over to Pilate to be killed. The real reason for our fights and divisions is envy.
7. Paul and the Jewish people.What happened to Jesus also happened to Paul. When Paul was preaching on a Sabbath in Antioch, the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. Acts 13:45 says, “When the Jews saw the crowds; they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively.” Where there is envy, there is slander. These Jews could not stand the fact that so many people came to hear Paul. And look at verse 49: “The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their region.” What did Paul do wrong? He merely preached the gospel, as the Lord had commissioned him to do.
The same thing happened in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5). The jealous and envious Jews hounded Paul all his converted life. They tried to kill him several times, but they could not until God’s time came and Paul was beheaded. Envy is active. Envy kills.
Leaders are especially the targets of envious people. Envious people hate a good elder or a good pastor, who will not dilute the gospel; who will not beg and plead for money; who will not be bought and sold; who will not peddle the word of God.
Envious people are like bitter roots. Such people spring up and cause trouble to the community and defile many. They will not rest until they kill. If they cannot kill as Cain killed Abel, they will do the next worst thing and try to kill the other’s reputation.They will speak abusively. They will resort to slander. The envious want to kill good pastors, good elders, and good people of God. Envy is active. Envy kills.
The story is told of two shopkeepers who were bitter rivals. Their stores were across the street from one another, and they spent their days sitting in the doorway keeping track of who had the most customers. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at the other. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers and said, “God has sent me to teach you a lesson. He will give you anything you ask for, but I want you to know that whatever you get, your competitor across the street will get twice as much. Would you like wealth? Ask what you will, only he will get twice as much. Do you want a long and happy life? It is yours, but he will live twice as long. You can be famous, your children can be famous, and whatever you desire. But whatever you get, he will get twice as much.” The man frowned, thought for a moment, and said, “All right. My request is this: Strike me blind in one eye.”
That’s jealousy turned into envy. No wonder Shakespeare called jealousy “the green-eyed monster,” no wonder Dryden called envy “the jaundice of the soul.” Taken together, they are the most corroding of all the vices, coals that come from the pit of hell.
Proverbs 14:30 says A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones”
We may be sure we are suffering from envy when…
1) We secretly regret that our friends have succeeded where we have not.
2) We use excuses to explain why someone else did better than us.
3) We walk the other way rather than congratulate a friend on her good fortune.
4) We question the motives of those who show kindness to us.
5) We secretly gloat when someone else gets caught because “they had it coming to them.”
6) When we can’t sincerely rejoice with others on their personal successes.
7) We refuse to be friends with someone who excels in our field.
We can’t bear to hear our friends complimented in our presence.
Erma Bombeck captured the heart of envy in this humorous prayer: “Lord, if You cannot make me thin, at least make my friends look fat.” Envy causes us to say, “I’ve been treated unfairly and I want my fair share. If I can’t have it, you can’t have your fair share either.” No one can be richer, healthier, happier, more spiritual, or more gifted than we are. Envy is the great equalizer. It allows us to drag others down to the gutter where we live in our misery.
We only envy those we perceive as close to us.Doctors don’t envy dockworkers. Soldiers don’t envy cabinet-makers. Executives don’t envy veterinarians. Likewise, we don’t envy those below us or those clearly above us. But envy hits when we compare ourselves to those we consider in our class and near to us. The success of people close to us can be very hard to take. That’s why husbands and wives sometimes envy each other, or why we can’t get along with our friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers. We’re so busying trying to keep score that we don’t have time to develop relationships.
III. Overcome Envy
What happened to these bible characters can easily happen to any of us. And I would imagine that many of you who are hearing this sermon have struggled with this sin. How can we be set free? He that the Son has set free is free indeed!
In looking for an answer it’s crucial to identify the real problem. When we envy, our struggle is not with the person we envy. Our real struggle is with God. When we envy, we’re saying, “Lord, you made a mistake when you gave that person so many blessings. I deserve some of what you gave him.” More than that, we’re really accusing God of unfairness. The envious man believes that in the game of life, God has rigged the system so that he can never win. Until you come to grips with God, you can never be free of envy.
TGod wills the very best for you. Do you believe this? It all comes back to how big your God really is! Do you believe you have what you need right now? Or do you secretly believe that you need and must have something else in order to be content? God has ordained to give you whatever you need at any given instant in order to serve him with joy. That doesn’t mean you’ll always be happy and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll always have everything you want, but it does mean that God has promised to care for you 24/7, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you envy, you are accusing God of falling down on the job.
How, then, can we be set free? How can I get this envy monkey off my back– how can I get those talons out of me? Here are five steps that I have found helpful.
A. Admit it.That is, admit that you are an envious person. This isn’t easy. After all, most of us would rather admit an “acceptable” sin like “lack of patience” or “over commitment.” We don’t want to admit that envy has found a place in our heart, but until we come clean we will never be made clean. – “Ask God to cut it out of you”
B. Confess it.This is a step beyond admitting the sin. Agree with God that envy is wrong and cry out to him to remove it from your life - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us oursins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
C. Pray for the successof those you envy.This step won’t be easy because envy makes us angry at those who possess what we lack. And someone may say, Elder Doggett, how can I pray for someone who is an arrogant jerk.” It’s not that hard, really. Be honest with God. Say something like this: “God, I ask you to bless so-and-so even though he’s an arrogant jerk.” After all, God knows how you feel anyway. But what if you don’t want God to bless him? Fine, then pray like this; “God, I ask you to bless so-and-so who is an arrogant jerk even though I hope you don’t answer this prayer.” Again, God already knows how you feel. On more than one occasion, I’ve prayed for difficult people this way: “Lord, I ask you to bless this person in spite of how I feel about them.” That’s a good prayer because you are asking God to ignore your feelings and bless them in accordance with his divine plan.
D. Thank God for the things you envy in others. This step is helpful because it forces me to admit that what I envy is God’s gift to someone else. Their beauty, their talent, their gift with words, their ability to attract others, their business success, their winsome personality—it all comes from God. Why not try thanking him for his gifts to others?
E. Find someone who needs your help. Nothing will cure envy like getting your eyes off those above you and instead stepping down to wash dirty feet. A few minutes spent helping someone else will end up helping you as your focus shifts from what you think you lack to how you can use what you have been given for the benefit of those less fortunate.
(1 Cor 13:8 – Love does not envy)
1. Envy is not a fruit of the Spirit. It is a work of the flesh. It is of the devil.So Peter says, “Rid yourselves of all malice and envy.” That tells us that Christ has given us the freedom to rid ourselves of all this evil. Otherwise, it is a nonsensical statement. Rid yourselves now of the rotting garbage! Throw it out! Envy is cancer of the bones. Envy causes us to waste away spiritually and physically.
But if you are not a Christian, you cannot do this. So what should you do? Cry out to Christ to save you and give you a new heart and a willing spirit. He will free you from the dominion of sin. He is the “I Am the God of another chance, Imagine this He’s mercy times a million, he is perfect Love!
The Church recruited people who had been starched and ironed before they were washed – Jesus said you must be born again John 3:3
Closing Scripture- But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:14-16- NIV
Shall we pray? Heavenly Father, we praise you and thank you. Deliver us from envy. It is not the fruit of the Spirit; it is terrible. It is rot on our spirit. It is cancer of the bones. It causes us to waste away. It causes us to go into our caves and sulk. Have mercy upon us, O Lord. Help us to pay heed to the word we have heard. Help us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, that we may bear the fruit of the Spirit. Help us to love and not envy others. Amen.
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