It’s easy to look at what others have and wish we had it too. Their life, their wife, their paycheck, their house… all of these can seem better than ours. And in the quiet places of our hearts we think if we only had their __________ , then we’d be happy.
God knew that one of the top ten temptations we’d all face is envy, or in Old Testament language: covetousness. It’s commandment number ten of ten. Exodus 20:17
So how do we stop looking at what others have and wishing it was ours? What’s the antidote to envy?
Envy = Stuck
One of history’s biggest worship leaders wrestled with envy. His name was Asaph and King David appointed him as the chief minister “before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” 1 Chronicles 16:4-5
But when Asaph looked around at his life, it seemed like he was losing and everyone else was winning. Have you ever felt that way?
When Asaph sized up the world around him, he confessed,
“I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.” Psalm 73:3-5
Asaph was stuck in envy.
The Great Until
One thing we’re not supposed to do with envy is to believe the lie that, “If only I had as much as they have, then I would be content.” That’s not how it worked for Asaph and that’s not what will spring us from the trap.
Instead what melted Asaph’s envy was seeing life from God’s perspective. He wrote,
“When I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, UNTIL I went into the sanctuary of God…” Psalm 73:17
The sanctuary of God, the place where God dwells… Asaph’s mind left earth and journeyed to heaven. He traded in the visible for the invisible. He pulled out the wide-angle lens and looked at life in light of eternity. Then, at last, it made sense.
Nothing On Earth
When Asaph set his mind on God above, his circumstances did not change, but his perspective did. He recognized that instead of lacking, he was rich with the truest and most precious of treasures. He wrote,
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
Imagine being able to confidently say: “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides God. Nothing! If I never get another raise, if I never buy a home, if I never take another vacation, if I never eat out, if I never have what they have, if nothing in my life ever changes, God is enough for me. He is my portion and he is enough.”
This is the antidote to envy: “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
To change our hearts we need to change our view, by looking again to Jesus and being satisfied that he is good, he is for us, and he gives us what is best for us. The happiness we hope for is not in getting the thing we’re looking for, but in finding him who is looking for us.