A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Pr 14:30
When I attended my professional society meeting this year, I expected to gain some knowledge of science; I was surprised to gain a bit of knowledge about myself.
On the plane out I sat across the aisle from a colleague in a more lucrative practice than mine who described the fun his expensive life style provided. Oh, what I could do if I had his money.
On the convention shuttle I sat next to a man, younger than I, who was prominent in his field. He spent the ride describing all of his accomplishments and notoriety. Oh, what I could do if I had his fame.
On the first meeting day I received a call from my emotionally labile daughter---she had quit her job and was now unemployed. All of my friends’ children are successful professionals or missionaries. Oh, what I could do if only my family were okay.
Oh, what I could do if I were not who I am.
Envy is horrible. It comes from pride and self-focus; it infects us all, even doctors who seem to have everything. Envy saps the joy from our lives. Envy damages my relationships with those I envy, relationships that God has fashioned to complete His work of redemption.
How can I stamp it out?
I can think of four steps to help drive envy from my own life.
1. Envy is sin. I need to hold it up to God, ask Him to forgive me and remove it from my life.
2. Envy is possessive. I need to surrender those areas of my life where others have better outcomes than I. God, take my money, my fame, my family. Use them as You choose for Your glory.
3. Envy brings amnesia. I need to take time and remember God’s blessings in my life and turn my heart toward gratitude based upon the truth of life.
4. Envy is selfish. I need to pray for God to bless each of those I envy.
Forgiveness, surrender, gratitude and intercessory prayer: God has made me different from all others so that I might bring Him glory. Sometimes I have to work a bit to settle into His plan.
Cleanse me of envy. Help me to live joyfully and purposefully in the form and format You have fashioned.