Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Destructive Nature Of Envy

Several years ago when I was an aspiring young businessman I experienced a rather vivid dream. There was a man who approached me wearing an expensive three piece Armani suit and equally expensive shoes. Although I was unable to see his face, he appeared almost radiant, the epitome of success. He said, “All of this and more can be yours if you will bow down and worship me!” This was a wake up call to me warning of the evil power of envy.

Envy is the desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to someone else coupled with jealousy and covetousness. Envy led to the original sin and fall of mankind and was the tool used to create a sense of discontent in the hearts of the original couple. The Lord had given them free access to everything in the Garden of Eden to be used by them as they wished, however there was a single tree in the midst of the Garden which they were forbidden to partake of.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

Pay close attention to these verses because it is the universal tool by which Satan tempts and creates discontent, covetousness, jealously, envy and finally an ungrateful heart that motivates human beings to willful unrighteousness. The bible refers to him as “The Serpent” in the original text he was referred to as a “Shining Being”. 

Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 
(Genesis 3:1-5)

The Tempter insinuated that the Lord had lied, misleading them to believe that something terrible would befall them as a ruse to keep them from having the same great knowledge that the Lord himself possessed and keeping them in a subservient role when the Tempter said that they could become like God.

Satan had thrown them the bait, creating in their hearts a desire for something that wasn’t theirs to have, they fell for it and he set the hook and suddenly they felt naked because they knew they had been deceived.

In Genesis 3:6-7 we get a clear picture of how Satan uses envy in the process of causing man to succumb to his will. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, (The lust of the eyes) and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, (The lust of the flesh) she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. (The pride of life) Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

Finally in Genesis 3:8-24 we see the results of man's infidelity to the Lord and failure to heed His word. What had originally been a life of eternal bliss became a life of hardship and eventual death, the worst part of which was separation from their previous friendship and their relationship with God.

Envy once again raised it’s ugly head between two brothers recorded in Genesis 4:1-16. Able was a shepherd, he offered a lamb as a burnt offering to the Lord, while Cain his brother burnt an offering from the crops he had grown in the field. The Lord showed His pleasure at Able’s offering, but counted Cain’s offering as unsuitable. Thus Cain grew envious of the favor shown toward his brother, his envy grew to discontent and led to an ungrateful heart which turned to anger, hatred and malevolence as he then murdered his brother. 

In today’s world it is interesting to understand how an entire nation fell under the sway and spell of a very charming and smooth talking deceiver whose dark past is largely a mystery. His initial lie was put forth to create a sense of discontentment by offering an already wealthy and successful nation “Hope and Change.” It was an insinuation that there was something missing, something wrong that required change thus creating a sense of deep discontentment and ungratefulness in the hearts of many. Then pointing to the difference between those in one group who were generally successful, hard working, believers in God and His righteousness, who trusted in God’s provision. He then appealed to others who had turned from God, those who hate His righteousness and had turned to trusting in the government for their provision, setting them against the others using envy as his tool of choice. Then as both sides were locked in enmity and strife he commenced with his willful deconstruction of a great nation.

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