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Don't Envy Sinners

Proverbs 23:17 (ESV) -- Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.

Have you ever been envious of someone? It is a poisonous fruit of an unthankful heart. We look and see someone else’s status, position, power, or wealth, and we wonder how they can attain that when we have so many better qualities and qualifications. We wonder how they can have this position or status when they are not even that good. Envy eats us up on the inside, but it spills out of our hearts and into our words and actions. 

The proverb writer tells us to guard our hearts on this matter. He writes, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” He states plainly that our hearts, which is where envy originates, should not envy sinners. We should not look at the lives of the lost and envy what they have or do. If we belong to the Lord, nothing good that we need for life or godliness has been withheld from us. In fact, we have exactly what the Lord thinks we need or can handle. 

Envy is ultimately a sign that we are not grateful. When we fail to see all that God has done for us, provided us, spared us from, and continues to sustain us through, an envious heart is able to grow. Gratitude helps combat envy. Gratitude and thankfulness recognize what we have instead of focusing on what we lack or desire. 

The proverb tells us to continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. We should stay focused on the Lord’s goodness to us, and our promised future in Him. Sinners may have earthly pleasures and ease, but if they do not repent and turn to Christ, they will only have good things here. This will be as good as it ever gets. But for the believer, we know that we have an eternity of provision and blessing ahead of us. We continue in the fear of the Lord, and keep our eyes forward on what is to come. This helps us to live thankful, and avoid the envy of sinners.

Reflection & Journal:
- What is envy?
- What are some things you are prone to get envious about in your own heart?
- How do we as Christians combat envy in our lives?

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