February 12, 2013

Without Envy

1 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 5:13-26

Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
—Galatians 5:26


There’s a legend that years ago the devil was crossing the Libyan desert. While traveling, he came upon a group of his demons trying to tempt a holy hermit. The man had withdrawn from society to live a pious, upright life in the desert. The demons were doing their best to get him to fall. Each tried their best temptation. One tempted him with seductions to satisfy his body. The holy man didn’t flinch. Another whispered to him that all of this devotion to God was wasted, that no one would ever know about it. He was unmoved.

After the devil watched, he said to his demons, “When you’re dealing with a really holy man, ordinary temptations just won’t work.” Then the devil went to the pious saint and whispered in his ear, “Did you know your best friend was just made bishop of Alexandria?” According to the legend, a look of foul envy crossed the holy man’s face.

That’s a legend—just a made-up story. But in it, we know, is a grain of truth. The British actor John Gielgud wrote in his autobiography, “When Sir Laurence Olivier played Hamlet in 1948 and critics raved, I wept.”

So it has always been—and will be.

Unless love steps in.

Love does not envy because love rests in God’s grace.

Father, by your grace, give us such a secure identity that we need not feel envious of another’s success or abilities. Instead, let us celebrate the gifts you give to others. Amen.

About the author — Kevin Adams

Dr. Kevin Adams has served as a church planter/pastor in the Sacramento, California, area since 1991. He and his wife, Gerry, began Granite Springs Church in Lincoln, and this congregation has helped to nourish several other church plants. Kevin also serves as a director of the Sierra Leadership Network, a training program for new church leaders.

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