“Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” -Proverbs 23:17
“Let not your heart envy sinners.” We are all tempted to look at people who are living in sin around us, and to see even temporary satisfaction that comes with sin and to be tempted by it. To say, “Oh, I would like that.” Or to see somebody, maybe, who’s not walking in righteousness, but they seem to be prospering in the world. To say, “Well, I kind of want what they have.” “Let not your heart envy sinners.” Don’t envy at all, the Proverbs encourage us in that way; but particularly those who are walking in unrighteousness, who are walking in sin before God instead.
Proverbs 23:17 Encourages Us to Fight Temptation
When you are tempted to envy people around you, fight that temptation by focusing on the fear of the
Lord all day long.
“Continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” Don’t focus on sinners around you and what seems to be advancing and good and prospering for them. No, focus on God and his holiness. Focus on fearing him all day long. I love that phrase at the end of verse 17, “all the day”, all day long. When you are tempted to envy people around you, sinners, the fruit in a sense of evil around you; fight that temptation by focusing on the fear of the Lord, all day long.
Proverbs 23:17 Shows Us that Growth Comes from Prayer
God, help us in this way, we pray. Help us to grow in our fear of you today. We’ve seen over and over again, in the Proverbs, that this is the beginning of knowledge, the beginning of wisdom. We want to fear you rightly today; and in the process, to have a right perspective on the people we see around us. God help us not to envy sinners. Help us not to envy those who are walking contrary to your ways, as if your ways are not good.
We know your ways alone are good, so help us not to envy those who walk apart from them. Lord, help us not to desire sin and where it leads, in any way. Keep us from that desire, we pray, all day long. Help us to fear you every moment, all day long. Capture our minds and our hearts with the fear of you, all day long. Help us to continue in the fear of you every moment of today. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.