September 25, 2011


1 Samuel 18:1-9

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30


When you compare yourself to others and decide that you don’t measure up, you can easily fall into envy. And that can make you rotten inside.

Envy is not the same as jealousy, in which a person has no tolerance for rivalry or unfaithfulness. In fact, I can be rightly jealous for my wife’s love, just as God is rightly jealous for the faithfulness we owe him. But not all jealousy is right.

Envy comes in when we feel we have a right to something that someone else has—and we feel they shouldn’t have it at all. Envy has led people to steal or kill to make sure the thing they wanted was not enjoyed by someone else.

Saul was envious of David. David was more successful, and he received more praise. When that happened, Saul—who had his own successes—no longer heard the songs sung for him, but only the songs sung for David. And it made him rot on the inside.

I know some envious people. They have a hard time praising others and hearing praise for those they envy. In the end, it can hurt them more than anyone else, for it can rot the soul.

In contrast with envy, wisdom calls us to rejoice in the good that others do, and to praise God for the blessings and gifts he provides others.

Lord, sometimes I fall into envy when I make comparisons. Help me to be joyful about the gifts you give to others, and to appreciate all you have given me. Guide me to serve you faithfully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Henry Kranenburg

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