Summary: Sermon looks at the devastating effects of envy - using the life of Joseph in Genesis 37 as a backdrop
How to Overcome Envy
Acknowledgement (Rick Warren - Breaking Free Series)
We’re in a series we’ve been calling “Breaking Free” from those sins in our lives that are not readily evident. We looked at temptations, pride, anxiety, and today jealousy. These sins become wedged in our hearts. We really don’t really like to talk about them; we think they are for others - not me.
When were envious it feels immature, embarrassing. If I think about jealousy, how can I legitimately say I feel envious? It seems weak.
Some of us admit we get angry easily. Envy is not as deep, not as ugly. It seems more like a bruise, a slight wound. That’s the one we’re going after. Most of us struggle with that.
Here’s envy. Envy is when I am out fishing and the guy pulls up with that $40 thousand fishing boat. It has all the bells and whistles. The fish are jumping into the boat. He is sitting there soaking up the rays, has a cold drink. He is listening to his super duper satellite radio. You reeling up that four inch perch; he is reeling in a five pound walleye. I am staring so much I almost drift into his boat. Your thinking I have been there and done that one.
Then I am thinking he is flaunting his wealth. He probably doesn’t give. He’s all showy with his money.” That’s envy. I just made him my rival.
Oscar Wilde tells this powerful story: The devil was once crossing the Libyan Desert, and came upon a spot where a number of small fiends were tormenting a monk. The sainted man easily shook off their evil suggestions. The devil watched their failure, and then he stepped forward to give them a lesson. He whispered to the monk ‘Your brother has just been made bishop of Alexandria. A scowl of malignant envy at once clouded the monk’s serene face. The devil to his workers ‘this is how you do it.’
Envy is dangerous to the soul because it doesn’t leave quickly. We fixate on it. Envy is when you have something and I feel I deserve it than you. All of a sudden you’ve become my emotional enemy.
We’re all envious over different things. I don’t know what your gig is that stirs up your envy. For me it’s not a boat. That situation I just told you was fictitious. Those of you who with nice boats, you can relax. I made the whole thing up. Boats and money, that doesn’t do it for me.
Let me tell you what God dealt with me on. Awesome preachers who have grown big ministries. That is just a Randy issue. When someone says look at so and so, well God dealt with me on that.
When my friends in ministry say you should see the amazing miracles that are happening in our church. It is so vibrant, so Spirit led. Then I think I believe I deserve this for Calvary. Then I begin to feel envy.
When I can click on the Internet and see the great things happening in other churches, then I begin to feel it.
Some people just keep pointing me to success stories. And I begin to feel envious because were there yet.
Here’s what I’m saying. I know what it’s like to create rivals, emotional enemies in my heart. This isn’t all about my self-disclosure. God’s already been doing His work in my life as I’ve been preparing this. Now it’s time for your triple-envy bypass. I want you to admit it now.
If you’ve ever envied somebody’s car, house, physique, marriage, children, grandchildren, business, boat, salary, education, temperament, athletic ability, character quality, intelligence or spiritual gift raise your hand. Be honest now. Welcome to Club Envy.
Club Envy is all over this area. Envy is universal but here’s the deal. If it goes unchecked it can ruin your life.
Friends, this is a serious sin. Envy makes people do evil things. Satan uses envy to get us to walk away from God and the church.
Those a little older may remember a woman named Tonya Harding. She was a professional figure skater. Harding began to work her way up the competitive skating ladder in the mid-1980s. She landed her first triple axel in competition at the U.S. Championships. She won the title with the first 6.0 ever given to a female singles skater for technical merit at that event. She had many other successes.
But she became jealous of her competitors. She drove eight-nine hundred miles to scare – or murder Nancy Kerrigan, a competitor. .
She attacked Nancy Kerrigan knees so Nancy could not skate. That’s envy gone violent.
We need to understand the negative side of envy. Here’s what envy does…