For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
Love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.
'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach' (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43).
How do I envy thee? Let me count the ways. I envy your cell phone, your shoes, and your very cool car. I envy your job, your success, and your high-powered friends.
Do Christians envy the world? God forbids it, but practically speaking--it looks like we do.
The world teaches envy. Companies call it marketing. Marketers call it advertising. In the old days, advertisers hung a sign on the street. But that sign started spinning in the 20th century. It spun faster and faster. In a handful of decades, it covered the globe with a glistening web: a binding enchantment called media.
Before the age of media, merchants had a simple plan: they sought to sell you their merchandise. Today, the plan is different: you are the merchandise. 'And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you' (2 Peter 2:3).
They buy you on an email list or an electronic tag. They buy your name, number, and personal information.
Their goal? Nothing less than owning your soul. Because the king of bling is none other than public enemy #1: Satan, 'The deceiver of the whole world' (Revelation 12:9).
If the church in the United States is the most visible church in the world, if the web of media spins from our own backyard, if God tells us to set the example to a non-believing world, then shouldn't we deny envy? Shouldn't we clean its debris from our lives?
'For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world' (2 Corinthians 1:12).
But what is our conversation... 'I bought this,' or 'When can we buy that?'
Consider three questions before your next purchase: 1) Can I do without it? 2) Does it further my work for God? 3) Is it helpful to other people?
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Envy series.