A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger [envy] is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past … to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back — in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
Some churches designate seven deadly sins that people practice. They are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth. These are also known as the “cardinal” sins. Now this type of classification or grouping seems important and useful to some. I want to examine “envy.”
Envy is a sin that each of us understands.
Envy can be defined as “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing by someone else’s possessions, or qualities.”
It made its entrance with Cain and Abel and the first murder. We see that Cain’s offering was rejected by God, (apparently He doesn’t like veggies). Also, keep in mind that part of Adam’s sin was that the ground was cursed. And Cain had tilled and planted from a field that had been cursed already. (Genesis 4)
But Abel offered up a “blood sacrifice” which God saw as acceptable. That drove Cain nuts. He was so envious that he murdered Abel. He couldn’t handle rejection, and seeing that his brother was extolled and honored was more that he could handle.
Envy became anger which led to murder.
It might come as a surprise to you but envy is why the Pharisees murdered Jesus, “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.” Matthew 27:18
We’re warned repeatedly by New Testament writers to renounce the sin of envy.
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
James 3:14, 16
I realize I can easily become an envier. (That’s a word, I looked it up.)
Selfish ambition is directly linked in the book of James to envy.
The Greek phrase for selfish ambition is often used to describe one who is full of envy. Incidentally, the word is also used as one “who is deceitfully promoting himself for public office.” (Too often I see myself as “President Bryan.”)
A Prayer for Freedom
Holy Father, I want to bind that spirit of envy that’s attempting to eat up my life. I curse it out completely in the name of Jesus, for it is more than cruelty and overwhelming fury.
I renounce it completely.You are all I want and need. I only want to be your child. I renounce envy.
Please remove it now, mighty God, along with the hatred, anger, fear, and insecurities that fuel it. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.
“Whenever you attempt a good work you will find other men doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Envy them not.”