Our author is confessing his sin of envy. But more important is the fact that he realized that what he envied always came to ruin. Pride falls in the end. Always.
The sin that tried to entangle our author is something that I’ve struggled with too. If we were being honest with one another, I would almost bank on everyone having this sin at some point in their lives. Who hasn’t seen someone who has ‘everything’ you wish you had and then some?
My envy had to do with body size and shape. I wanted to have the tiny body that some people seem to have so effortlessly. Our author’s envy was of arrogant people. I don’t think he thought of it as arrogant when he was desiring their traits. He probably saw them as self-assured and successful. He saw men who seemed to be in command of all they surveyed and didn’t care who they had to climb over to get there. They had all one could ask for in status and financial wealth. But they lacked something essential.
It is easy to see someone with the things you want and believe that they had no trouble obtaining it. The body I wanted would walk in front of me and I would assume they were born with a great metabolism or could easily resist the things that made me gain weight. But I knew NOTHING about them beyond that moment. They could have been ill. They could have been struggling as hard as I was. They could have even been trying to gain weight. Or they could have had an eating disorder just as daunting as mine. I didn’t know their struggles, only my envy.
Our author decided to dig a little deeper. He started watching more closely the people he envied. The ones who seemed to have it all. He discovered a LOT in his investigation. He heard the way they talked; it was vile and coercive to others. His ‘ideal’ people used deception, manipulation, and corrupt dealings to gain what he so desired. And they were proud of their accomplishments!
Was this who he really wanted to be? NO! He realized that in order to have what they had, he would have to give up what was MOST important to him. He would have to give up his relationship with God. There is no way God would turn a blind eye and continue to bless him while he plunged his hands into evil. Even if he did decide to ‘try it on for size’ he KNEW that there would be ultimate judgment he would have to face. That same judgment would be required of those he originally envied. So a choice had to be made; enjoy whatever you can at whatever price now with no thought to tomorrow or enjoy peace with the Lord both now and in the end.
I had a choice to make too. ‘Enjoy’ looking tiny for a moment with all the ooh’s and aah’s that came with it while literally killing myself or embrace life with my family at whatever size that came with it. When ‘tiny’ I had no strength or stamina. I was always preoccupied with maintaining my size to the exclusion of all else. And even then it wasn’t good enough. Now I have the strength I need to enjoy playing with my grandchildren. I can take care of my husband with energy enough to spare. I still get anxious about my size and food at times but I have more peace now that I accept the fact that I am NOT that ‘tiny’ little woman with the perfect legs. God didn’t make me that way and no amount of work I have done or could do will ever change that! And God was not my priority during that time either. He was the One I ran to because I was hurting but our time together was about my pain, not our progress. Leaving MOST of that behind has opened up our relationship for GREAT growth. It is WELL worth the trade-off. And our author agrees on that point! Today is temporary. The things of this world WILL pass away, including ‘beauty’. The ONLY thing that lasts is what we do with God.
Father God, thank You for sustaining me in the hard times and bring me to a MUCH better place with You. I know I still have struggles but You give me comfort in them like I couldn’t find before. I still want more balance in this portion of my life. I know You have offered it to me several times and I turned away. I’m ready to listen, and if I’m not listening, PLEASE speak louder! But please help me NEVER return to that place of envy and pride!!! OUR relationship is too important to me to go back there again! Thank You for opening my eyes like You opened the author’s eyes.
I want to add a special prayer today for the families in Texas who were involved in the latest school shooting. I pray for the families who lost children, the families who have to care for the children who now have to live with scars of that day, the first responders who had to deal with the carnage, and the whole town who had their image of safety shattered in an instant. I also pray for the family of the young man who perpetrated this horrible act, including the girlfriend who vowed to continue his ‘mission’. What will it take Father to stop this violence in our nation? Is it too something that will only end with the return of Your Son? If so, PLEASE come SOON Jesus! It was He who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” NOT make the little children suffer. Hold them tightly in Your arms today Lord as You welcome and comfort those who are no longer on this earth and as You speak peace to those who remain in this ravaged world. THANK YOU for the safety of my grandchildren for all the years You have watched over their lives, even the ones who weren’t looking to You for that protection.