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“You must not covet your neighbor’s house.  You must not covet your neighbot’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”  Exodus 20:17

Every time I read this commandment I twinge with feelings of shame because I have been so guilty of coveting “things” so many times in my life.  The Bible uses the term “covet” which is a synonym for “envy”.  Dictionary.com defines envy as, “a feeling of discontent aroused by the possessions, achievements, or qualities of others.”  For God to identify it as one of the 10 commandments gives us a hint of how clearly He sees envy as being destructive to our well-being and our relationships with Him.  He sees envy as being dangerous to our soul because we fixate on it sometimes in lieu of what else needs priority in our lives.  This is so clearly stated in Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”  (NIV)  A more secular definition that is truly straightforward comes from Betsy Cohen’s book, The Snow White Syndrome when she defines envy as “the unpleasant feeling of wanting what another person has and feeling bad that you don’t have it.”  No matter how you define it, envy/covet is an insidious disease that can start off by nothing more than something that catches your eye and snowball into a deep-seated feeling that consumes your daily thoughts.  We can be defined by our envy as both fools and disobedient, “Once, we too, were foolish and disobedient.  Our lives were full of evil and envy.”  Titus 3

I’ve done some soul-searching identifying what it is that triggers envy and I have come up with some not so-pretty reasons…pride, insecurity, greed, idolatry, frustration with our state in life and Christian immaturity.  The stronger our walk with the Lord, the less we struggle with “wanting” what others have.  Love drives out envy, true love of others allows us to be happy for the blessings of others.  1 Corinthians 13:4 says it best, “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”  (NIV)  Simply defined envy is an absence of love.  Randy Hamel stated in a sermon on envy that, “Envy and joy cannot co-exist in the same heart.  Envy and peace cannot co-exist in the same heart.  You can’t be envious and live a happy life at the same time.  It’s totally impossible.”  He goes on to say that although no one is immune to envy we can break its control over our life by using the Bible as our life guide.

So the $64,000,000 question would certainly be, “just how do I overcome envy?”  To combat envy we must:

1.  Admit/acknowledge that we are envious.  Being honest with ourselves sometimes is the most difficult task, no one wants to admit that they are motivated in life by others fortunes…”Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors but this too is meaningless, like chasing the wind.”  Ecclesiastes 4, do you want to spend your life “chasing the wind”?

2.  Apologize to God.  When we envy others____?_____we are in essence saying to God, “You didn’t provide enough for me or that what you have provided me is not good enough.”  Put in that context we can see just how evil envy is and how hurtful it is to our Heavenly Father.

I encourage you to stop and pray when you feel envy invading your thoughts, God I know You don’t owe me.  And God I’m sorrry for my arrogance.  I know that I’m trying to seek satisfaction or contentment in other places rather than You.  Forgive me.  Would You give me the courage and the strength to celebrate others and help me defeat the envy that looms in my heart?  God, thank You for hearing my prayers.  And for loving me enough to cancel the debt that I can’t pay on my own.”  Randy Hammel

Have a blessed day in Christ Jesus,

Mary Ann

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3 thoughts on “Untitled

  1. Envy is insidious. It sneaks up and bites you before you know what’s happening! Yes, MA…I think sometimes I concentrate on “bigger” sins and don’t give enough wariness to envy. It’s a game changer, and a bad one at that. Oh to maintain the peace and joy that comes from abiding in Jesus, and allowing Him to cleanse me of all of these ugly sins, envy included.Today my reading was Exodus 25-27. I admit I get a bit bored with reading the details of building the tabernacle. I have never been good at reading the directions and constructing things and imagining the finished product in my head. Thank goodness the bible I am using this year has commentary at the bottom of the pages. It helped me to put together something good. In constructing the tabernacle, God made it so that the first thing that the Isrealites saw when they entered the courtyard was the altar of burnt offering. On this altar, sacrifices were continually made. This reminded the people that they could only come to God by means of a sacrifice. It was the only way their sins could be forgiven and taken away. Hello Jesus and hello salvation!!!blessings to allMorgen

  2. Mary Ann,Isn't it just like the enemy to use our eyes to cause us to sin? He tempts us continually with the lust of the eyes, making us discontent with what we have. Morgen,I'm reading the same chapters as you and thankful that my ESV study bible also has comments AND pictures.   And the tabernacle tent. Notice how the outside is made of animal skins but inside is gold. The important stuff is on the inside.   

  3. Oh MA, I can so relate to you on this post. Greed, envy, wanting what I do not have…I so struggle with it. I love Jon Courson’s definition of covet- to covet is simply to want more of that which one already has enough. Ouch! To want more of what we already have enough, that really hit me. My focus was on the idols and the effects our idols have on our kids. For those of you not on Facebook here is my post today:Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands. Exodus 20:4-6The sins we struggle with affect our children. What do they see us doing? What are they learning from us?That is what I was thinking about as I read this commandment today. Why does God put the command to not make idols with the description of punishing successive generations? It is because the sins we commit and that our children learn from us they will have to pay for if they continue to commit them. The idols we have in our life can become the ones that they have in theirs.When I started following the Lord and really let Him begin to change me I realized that there were generational strongholds in my life that needed to be broken. I couldn’t use the excuse that ” I don’t know any better, that is the way I was raised” any longer. I could no longer use the excuse of the pain of my past to continue in sin. If I was not going to pass on my mess to my son I had to be the one to change it. I had to be the one to break the cycle and let God change me. If we don’t work with God to change us, our children will pay the consequences.Idols and these generation strongholds can be many different things. They can be things such as pride, divorce, addiction, greed, unforgiveness, alcoholism, bitterness. They can also be things that we have out of balance such as putting a career ahead of God and family or the model of marriage we live in front of our kids by making them the center of all our attention. They are going to one day live what they are taught. Our decisions today to follow God’s ways or not will affect them. 1 John 5:21 says, “keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” (NLT). Stormie Omartian says, “Unlike physical traits, tendencies toward sin are something we don’t have to receive as an inheritance from our parents. That’s because these tendencies are nothing more than the unquestioned acceptance of a firmly entrenched lie of the enemy.” We can question these lies and we can change them. We do not have to let successive generations suffer from the idols in our lives. We can instead do as Jon Courson says in his commentary, live to be a person of prayer, and the Word and these are the qualities that will be passed on to our kids.Breaking the strongholds begin with our decision to not believe Satan’s lies any longer and be willing to pray for God to help us not be in bondage to them so our kids will not be either. Let’s pray now to change any patterns we have in our lives and for our kids…Lord, You have said in Your Word that a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (Proverbs 13:22). I pray that the inheritance I leave to my children will be the rewards of a godly life and a clean heart before You. To make sure that happens, I ask that wherever there is a sinful trait in me that I have acquired from my family, deliver me from it now in the name of Jesus. I confess my sins to You. I ask for forgiveness and restoration, knowing Your Word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I know that cleansing from sin through confession lessens the possibility of passing the habit of sin on to my child.Jesus said, “I give you the authority…over all the powers of the enemy” (Luke 10:19). If there is any work of the enemy in my past that seeks to encroach upon the life of my child, (name of child), I break it now by the power and authority given me in Jesus Christ. I pray specifically about (name something you see in yourself or your family that you don’t want passed on to your child.). Whatever is not Your will will for our lives, I reject as sin.Thank You, Jesus that You came to set us free from the past. We refuse to live bound by it. Thank You, Father, that You have “qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Colossians 1:12). I pray that my son/daughter will not inherit any sin trait from his/her earthly family, but will “inherit the kingdom prepared for him/her from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34. Thank You, Jesus that in You the old has passed away and all things are new.~From The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie OmartianLove to you all, Brandee

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