Triumph Over Giants From Within (8) - Envy
In seven of the past Shepherd¡¦s Voices, I have shared with you the ways to triumph over giants from within. These giants are also the opponents of a believer¡¦s spiritual life. If we fall under their control, it will be difficult for us to inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21) This issue contains the last sharing on this subject. To my knowledge, no internal enemy can bring utter destruction to a believer like envy. It is the most hidden and most irrepressible of foes within the human heart. As Proverbs says, ¡§Envy rots the bones¡¨. (Proverbs 14:30) In Greek, the word ¡§envy¡¨ can be interpreted as ¡§to boil within¡¨.
There is a legend of Greece. Once, after an athletic competition, the villagers erected a stone statue of the champion in the public square. The athlete who placed just after him felt deeply resentful, and was full of envy. This jealousy boiling up from within drove him to execute revenge on the victorious youth. So every night during the wee hours, he went to the square to carry out sabotage on the statue that symbolized the winner. He planned to chip away a small piece every night from the bottom of the statue so that some day, the statue would topple on its own. One night, he was doing his usual demolition work, but this time he chipped away too much and the whole statue collapsed immediately, crushing to death this youth whose heart brimmed with envy. In fact, way before the statue tumbled over, this young man had already been crushed to death by that envious giant from within.
The Bible has recorded many people who brought great pain and loss upon themselves because of their internal envy. Cain was jealous of his brother and murdered Abel, so that he was cursed and had to wander the earth restlessly. (Genesis 4:12) The various sons of Jacob sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt because of envy, and received more than 10 years of self-recrimination and remorse in return. (Genesis 42:21) Miriam was envious of and spoke against her brother Moses, so she was punished by God, and contracted leprosy. (Numbers 12:10) The gang of Korah was jealous of the leadership of Moses, bringing about the immediate judgment of God, and the earth split apart and swallowed them. (Numbers 16:31-32) Because of the praises of the women for David, Saul was full of jealousy and stalked David for many years to kill him, with the result that he lost the spirit of God and his kingdom. If the servants of God preach from envy and selfish ambition, it will destroy the house of God, putting those who serve the Lord faithfully into harm¡¦s way, and greatly sadden the Lord.
To triumph over envy, this giant from within, we should take note of the following insights:
1. Envy is a sin that harms one¡¦s self before it hurts others. When we are illuminated by the Holy Spirit and discover this sin, we must immediately confess to God, and not allow envy the opportunity to grow roots inside. Otherwise, it will become a major catastrophe. ¡§If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.¡¨ (1 John 1:9)
2. The envy within us will quickly corrupt the relationship between members of the church. ¡§For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.¡¨ (James 3:16) So believers should learn to confess to and intercede for one another. They should also bear with each other and forgive one another in love. (Colossians 3:13)
3. Be assured of the love of God for us through a deeper understanding of the word of God. We feel that the love of God for us is less than for the other person when we assume that what he possesses is more and better than that which we have to earn through much hard effort. By comparison, we think that God has blessed this person more, and cannot comprehend why the Lord does not also look upon us with favour. Counting once more the blessings bestowed by God on oneself is the quickest way to stop the spread of envy.
4. Put into action the lessons of love. Earnestly emulate the love of Jesus Christ, for love does not envy. And love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) Real love is built upon the foundations of actions and truth, and not on words and tongue.
By: Daniel To