FIRST Focus

Continuing with thoughts around the danger of mislabeling the poison of sin, I move to a third that carries a lethal effect on the life God provides for us on earth. This poison contains the ingredients associated with envy. While envy and jealousy are often interlinked, they are different. Envy defined in the world of Webster carries the meaning of a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions or qualities. Envy is sourced in pride. Envy seeks something it does not possess. Like envy, jealousy is sourced in pride. However, jealousy is different. Jealousy is framed by having had something that has been lost or stolen by another. Whatever the 'prize' may have been, it is not necessarily the fact that the jealous person wanted what was lost or stolen. Jealously rages because the 'prize' became the possession of someone else. Simply put, envy desires what it doesn't have, and jealousy just doesn't want anyone else to desire or have it. While both are poisonous to the soul, my focus is on envy today because envy was the fruit of pride in Lucifer, (as he was once known in heaven before the fall). Pride, having poisoned the mind soon produced a spirit of envy. Isaiah 14:13-14 says of Lucifer's discontentment, "I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the North; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High." Envy motivated Cain to murder his brother Abel because God respected Abel's sacrifice and rejected Cain's (Genesis 4:3-8). Cain wanted to be respected like Abel without having to do what God required. The poison of pride soon bore out the poisonous symptoms of envy that led to the first murder recorded in history. Abel lost his life because his brother was under the influence of the potion of envy. Abel enjoyed something that caused Cain to resent his brother enough to remove him from the picture. The poison of envy must not be mislabeled or mismanaged. The devil's concoction of resenting others for what God has provided them destroys one's spiritual health. And choosing to refuse the antidote of confessing this sin to God (1 John 1:9) causes a person's joy to quickly erode. The erosion of spiritual wellness leads to growing discontentment and resentfulness toward others. Envy has been correctly compared to spiritual leprosy that slowly destroys a person's life. Should anyone think that mislabeling this poison as not that big of a deal, remember that God associates envy with sexual immorality, idolatry, witchcraft, and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21). All the above produce a devastating effect on our desire for God within the soul. If you have or ever feel the poisonous effect of envy on your spirit, it is imperative that you first recognize that this poison is lethal to your spiritual life and renounce it in the power of Jesus' name. The Lord will provide all we need, as we need it to overcome the impact of this poisonous concoction of the devil. The Lord will restore the life that envy determines to destroy when we are willing to open our hearts to His transforming power of contentment. After all, "godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6). God provides the necessary directions on locking this lethal poison away for good as we learn to be content in our situation with such things as we have (Philippians 4:11-12). Should we refuse His directions on the poison of envy and decide to take a dose, something special will suffer and its effect could be deadly to you and those you love. That ought to remind us to read the label correctly and regard the skull and crossbones as a warning of the deadly ingredients within. May God's directions for a safe life flow out of a saved life! Pstr K Jeremiah 29:11