Apples of Gold
Radio Script for September 30, 2008
“The Three Ingredients of Envy”
Hello, I’m Doug Apple…with Apples of Gold.
Envy is one of the so-called “seven deadly sins.”
So do you have it? Can you look in your heart and find envy?
Here’s what to look for. There are three main ingredients.
First there is you, the envier. Second there is the envied, or what we will call “The Rival.” And third there is what you want that they have, which we will call “The Goods.”
So there is you, your rival, and the goods.
Now let’s look at where envy begins. It starts with the comparison. If we don’t compare, we don’t envy. But as soon as we start to compare what we have with what others have, we are stepping towards envy.
And it doesn’t have to be a material possession. It can be anything that our rival seems to have more of, including happiness or contentment.
I asked earlier if you have envy. Now let me ask you this: Do you have a rival? Is there someone that just sort of drives you crazy because they just seem to have it better?
Think about Cain and Abel. Why on earth did Cain kill his brother? It happened after God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. At this point the deadly sin of envy grew in Cain’s heart. All the ingredients were in place. Cain had a rival, his brother; and his brother had the goods, in this case the acceptance of God.
In reality it had nothing to do with Abel. Abel didn’t make Cain’s sacrifice acceptable or unacceptable. Abel only came into the picture when Cain compared himself to him.
See, it’s the comparison that opens the door to envy.
So Cain compared himself to Abel and saw that Abel had the goods and he didn’t. Then instead of spotting the envy and getting rid of it, Cain focused on his rival, and ended up killing his own little brother.
Here is another way to look for envy in your heart. Is there someone who makes you feel distress just by thinking about what they have that you don’t?
Proverbs 14:30 says that envy rots the bones. You can just feel it eating away at you.
This is what the Jewish leaders felt when Jesus came along. He spoke with authority and did miracles, and the people flocked to Him.
The Jewish leaders wanted the admiration of the crowds. That was the goods. But Jesus had more of it, making him the rival. Envy finally ate away at them so much that they drug Jesus before Pilate to be crucified. Now look at what Mark 15:10 reveals. It says that Pilate knew it was “out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.”
Of course envy doesn’t always lead to murder. Sometimes it just motivates you to keep up with the Joneses. You end up doing things out of envy, motivated by your rival.
Listen to what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:4. “And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
I wonder how many church initiatives have been motivated, not by the call of God, but by envy, based on something a rival did. “Uh oh. First Baptist has a podcast. Well we’ll get one too…with video!”
In Mark 7, Jesus said that envy is an evil that comes from inside of us, from our heart.
Galatians 5 says that envy is an act of the sinful nature.
First Peter 2:1 says, “…rid yourselves of all…envy…” How can we do that?
First Corinthians 13 gives us the antidote for envy. Verse four says, “Love…does not envy…”
When you love someone, you won’t envy them. They will not be your rival. You will be glad for the goods they have, whether you have them or not.
For example, I love my son. If he ends up more successful, more prosperous, more popular than me, I won’t be envious in any way. I totally love him, so I can rejoice in his successes with no envy whatsoever. We will never be rivals because I love him so much.
As Christians we are to love everyone, so that should do away with envy altogether.
And another tip for dealing with envy is to stop the comparisons. Don’t be looking at someone else’s life to see how yours stacks up. This is poison and opens the door to envy; or like it says in James 3:14, “bitter envy.”
So take a look in your heart. Is there someone you would consider a rival? Someone who has certain “goods” that you want? Someone who causes you distress just thinking about what they have?
If so, then you might be harboring envy, and it’s time to get rid of it. You can start with a little prayer like this, “Lord, please help me rid myself of all envy. Help me stop comparing myself to others like that, and help me to love them as You want me to love them. Amen.”
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
© 2008 The Arrow’s Tip
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(Proverbs 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”)
Why “The Arrow’s Tip”? Each morning, after diligently seeking the Lord, I write Apples of Gold. Then before I release it to the public I pray one final prayer, “Lord, send forth your arrows.” I envision Apples of Gold as arrows, tips dipped in the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), sailing toward the hearts and minds of men and women around the world.
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