Why is she so successful when I am struggling to keep my head above water? Have you found yourself asking this question or one similar? Are you battling the sin of envy?
Yes, that is me. The one who tries to follow Christ while the Devil continuously points out my downfalls. I have envied stay-at-home moms because I think they have more free time. I have longed for an elegantly decorated home and an overflowing bank account, and when my husband and kids less than desirable traits make their next appearance, I wonder what it would be like to have that picture perfect family portrayed on TV. I have fell into the trap more than my share of times, but by the Grace of God, I have been pulled from the downward spiral of envy and resentment and learned to embrace my blessings with each passing day.
Christians are Not Exempt from Envy
I have found it is such an easy trap to fall into. “Oh, it’s just a little sin. Everyone does it.” We tell ourselves everything to justify the contempt that boils in our veins and redirects our hearts to focus on a course that is not in line with God’s plan. Christians struggle with this because we are human and humans sin. Each day of our life, we will continue to battle the sins of the flesh.
What Tempts You?
Maybe you want that seemingly perfect life your best friend has. Her husband has a lucrative business and she stays home and goes shopping whenever she desires. What about Nancy at the Sunday morning service two pews up from you, she lost 100 pounds and looks fabulous! Look at the attention she is getting. You have only lost one pound on that worthless fad diet you started. Just like that, the thoughts creep in, mostly unnoticed. Before you realize it, you start daydreaming about the life of someone else and how you wish it was yours. You find yourself wasting time staring at your own reflection picking out your flaws and comparing your body, family and entire existence to what you think it takes to make your world perfect and happy.
What to Do When You are Battling the Sin of Envy
Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you.
Envy destroys contentment which is the heart of happiness and it devours your love of others. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you with the strength to overcome your coveting ways and pray daily for God to guide your thoughts and actions.
Recognize that Envy is Brooding in Your Life
Take a honest look at yourself and how you feel about your life, the lives of others and what you desire. If you find that you are wanting what others have and you feel bitter because you do not have it, this is a sign of envy. It is a product of our sinful nature as humans, but you do not have to let it control your life. As a Christian, we strive to live Christ like daily and that requires you to see the sin and work on removing it from your life.
Develop a Gracious Attitude and Focus on the Positive
Each of us have things in our lives to be thankful for. The little blessings that God has bestowed upon us which we typically overlook. Spend time with God thanking him for what you do have such as your health, the health of your family, your home, your job, food on the table and the love of friends. Those are only a few of many aspects of our lives we should take time to notice. Once you find yourself calling out the good things in your life, you will not have room in your heart to focus on what you think is bad.
Understand All Things of this World are Temporary
The things that stir up an envious heart are the same things that we cannot take with us to the grave. The nice car, the decorated degree, the recognition, the bank account, all of it means nothing when we draw our last breath. Indeed we come into this world naked and we leave carrying nothing with us. Rather than spending your time focusing on what is here today and gone tomorrow, root your heart and soul on what lasts forever. Develop a giving attitude, read the Bible as your instruction manual on how to live a life that is pleasing to God and learn to store your treasures in Heaven. You will notice how your focus shifts and before you even realize it, the envy that once controlled your heart will be replaced with a generous love of life and others.