Envy Ruins the Soul but Grace Revives

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21When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,

22I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.

23Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

24You guide me with your counsel,and afterward you will receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:21-26
Envy ruins the soul.

The soul that looks longingly at what others have will soon convince itself of its own self-righteousness and right to take.

When we cast our hearts upon the ease, beauty, riches, and power others have we will never be satisfied. We will miss what we do have. We will miss the wisdom of following God now and we will be in danger of making awful decisions.

The Psalmist says in Psalm 73:2-3

2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.

3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

In verse 21 he describes what envy has done to his soul. He is embittered, brutish, and ignorant. He lives like a beast toward God.

Yet, there is grace. There is grace for the soul being ruined by envy. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heard and my portion forever.”

Such is the grace of God in Christ Jesus that we can say, “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (verse 28)

The War for Your Soul

Scripture:  1 Peter 2:11-12

11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Observations:

Sojourners — they are just passing through

Exiles — are looking forward to “place they really belong.”

Abstain — to not partake of

The passions of the flesh — (Could be a long list!)

Our conduct among people is to seek to honour God and to honour them, so that it contributes to the cause of Christ in bringing people to know Him;  those who know Him will praise Him.

Application:

I live in this world, but I’m not to be of it.  We are wired to seek belonging in relationships.  However, I must not confuse connecting to people with an unrestrained connection to the passions and desires of my flesh.  Those desires range from the appetites of my body to the desires to be liked, loved, respected, and appreciated.  I will love better if I do not expect my relationships with people, the stuff of earth, and even with my own achievement to bear the weight of my soul.  Only God can do that.  Otherwise I will use people and use stuff to prop me up rather than loving people and stewarding stuff for the glory of God.  Honouring God and people rightly requires the strength of knowing I’m loved by God and “just passing through.”  Ultimately, this world is not my home, it has nothing for me.  Yet, life with Jesus Christ is good in this life and in that I rejoice.

 

Prayer:

 

Oh Heavenly Father you know the desires that war against my soul.  These longings are just a shadow of my deeper and sometimes unrecognized hunger for you.  May your Spirit empower me to say Yes to Jesus over and over today.  Fill me with your Spirit and put a new song in my heart.  Let praise start now in my life and in the lives of my friends.  AMEN.