“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
What a powerful image. Like a tranquil heart giving life, but envy making our bones rot. Envy, looking at others and wanting what they have instead of what you have. Walking around thinking, “I wish I looked like that person. I wish I had that possession. I wish I had this or that.” Oh, this is a recipe for making your bones rot.
In Christ we can be free from the bone rotting envy. May God give us grace to rest in Christ.
I just think about envy and pride, how they go together. CS Lewis’ chapter on pride in Mere Christianity is so helpful, because he talks about how pride is really grounded in a competition and sense of envy. Because nobody’s proud because they’re fast, we’re proud because we’re faster than somebody else. If we were slower than somebody else, we would not be proud of how fast we are. We only have pride when we look at others, we compare ourselves, and we think, “I’m better.” So we get proud if we’re better or we get discouraged if we’re not as good.
We’re not proud because we’re attractive in some way. We’re proud because we think we’re more attractive than that person. If we saw somebody who was more attractive than us in a particular way, we would not have pride for being attractive. We’re not proud because we’re smart, we’re proud because we’re smarter than somebody else. We can go on and on and on in so many different ways, because envy, we’re looking at others. How do we compare?
And this is where the Bible calls us to a different way to live. The Bible beckons us to a tranquil heart. A heart at peace with who God has created us to be and what God has said about us. This is the good news of the gospel. Through Jesus, through faith in Jesus, you are a child of God, loved by Him. And it’s His opinion that ma tters. This is 1 Corinthians 4 when Paul says, “It’s not about what you think about me, it’s not even what I think about me. It’s about what Jesus says about me.” So for you to live like that is a recipe for rest and joy and contentment. Not envy and pride, competition where you’re always comparing yourself and you’re never quite sure how you measure up.
Look in the word of God, what does God say about you? And live in that. Rest in that. Be all that God calls you to be, without being a slave, without being rotted by a constant sense of comparison and envy and looking to others. Oh, we need God’s help in this. God, please, oh God, help us. Help us today to be free of envy, all envy. God, deliver us from comparing ourselves to others and thinking, “I want what they have. I need what they have. They have it so much better in this way or that way,” or, “God, I wish I had that.” God, we pray that you would deliver us from envy, covetousness, even this unhealthy competition, this always comparing ourselves to others. God, we pray You would help us to have a tranquil heart, to see what You have said about us, and to rest in who You have made us to be. God, we pray for that.
I pray for that in my life, I pray for that in those who are praying with me right now. God, please give us tranquil hearts that are resting in You and who You’ve made us to be and who You’ve called us to be in Christ. And oh, God, we praise You that we don’t have to measure up before You. I anybody we would measure up before it’s You as God, yet You have made a way for us to be forgiven of sin, cleansed of all of our sin, free from its penalty and power in our lives, not based on anything we’ve done to measure up, but based solely on Your grace. All glory be to Your name for the gracious standing You have given us before You. We praise You for Your love for us, Your grace toward us, and we pray, God, I pray just over everybody who’s listening to this and over my own life, help us to rest in who You have made us to be, what You have said about us and in this to be free of a bone-rotting envy. It is so common in the world around us and we are so prone to. God, deliver us from envy to peace, to tranquil hearts. Today, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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