August 6, 2005

Love Does Not Envy (1)

Scripture Reading — 1 Cor. 13:4c; Genesis 4:1-9

The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but [not] on Cain and his offering ... — Genesis 4:4-5

When we resent somebody for having something we wish we had, we are in the grip of envy. The story of Cain and Abel is a classic example of how envy can poison the human spirit and result in great harm.

"Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord." Abel, on the other hand, offered to the Lord from the very best of his flock. God was pleased with Abel and his offering, but God did not extend the same favor to Cain.

Cain became angry with God and resented his brother for receiving God's favor. He saw Abel as a rival who had received something that he wanted badly for himself. Envy had begun to spread its poison throughout his soul. Unable to master it, Cain murdered his brother.

The Bible teaches that every human being has a sinful nature and that envy lives in that sinful nature (Galatians 5:16-21). "It desires to have you," as the Lord said to Cain, "but you must master it."

How? In our own strength we cannot master envy, but with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37; 18:27). If you have confessed Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then your sinful nature has been "crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20). Christ now lives in your mind, enabling you to put to death envy and other sins and to put on his love, to grow more like him.


Father, I'm so glad my sinful nature has been crucified with Christ. By your Spirit, help me put envy to death and put on your self-giving love. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship