Love Does Not Envy
GOOD MORNING MGCC –
AND - welcome to week 4 in our series ‘Love Is…’
AND LISTEN – if there ever was a series that we need to make every effort to live out when we walk out those doors, it is this one. LIKE – the truths we will discuss have the power to change everything… NOW – you may think that I am exaggerating a bit here… BUT – I think not.
AFTER ALL – consider the following Scriptures…
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. - John 13:34-35
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. – Galatians 5:6
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. – 1 John 4:12
NOW – so far in the series we have talked about…
‘The Unrelenting Love Of God”
AND – about how “Love is patient and love is kind…”
OKAY – let’s do this ‘Love does not envy…’
NOW – I want to ask you a question that I really want you to ponder as we go through our conversation this morning…
“What do you do when life’s not fair?”
“What do you do when life’s not fair?”
QUESTION – have you ever thought in you’re head or said out loud these three word’s? It’s not fair!
YOU KNOW – I pretty sure we all have… in fact those 3 words begin rising up and flowing from out mouths at an early age.
• Tommy’s parents let him stay up until 11 o’clock and I have to go to bed at 9, and he’s younger than me.
It’s not fair!
• All my friends caught brand new bikes for Christmas and still have to ride this old beat up hand me down…
It’s not fair!
• When they turned 16 their parents bought them a brand new car and they are going to pay for their entire college and they don’t even have to have a job.
It’s not fair!
• I am more talented and more deserving than they are, but they always get the lead in the show or the starting spot on the team… It’s not fair!
• I have been with the company much longer, I work harder, I do a much better job, yet they got the promotion I deserved and wanted, it’s not fair!
• All my friends are getting married and starting families and I am still single, it’s not fair!
• Why can’t we afford to take trips like they do, a month traveling through Europe, it’s not fair!
• We serve God and have given up so much more than they have, yet they get all the breaks… It’s not fair.
• Look at this house – why can’t we have a home like this
It’s not fair!
• I can’t believe they can retire at 55 with 2 pensions and here I am at 75 greeting people at WalMart just to make ends meet, it’s not fair!
• Look at how confident they are - everyone always want to be around them, they listen to them, they care about them…why don’t people treat me the same way.
It’s not fair
AGAIN – what do you do, when life is not fair?
UNDERSTAND THESE - are the kinds of thoughts that go through the minds of people, even Christians.
NOW - they may seem harmless.
AND - at times they may even motivate us to try harder, to achieve, to be better people – but the word of God has this to say in Proverbs 14:30;
A heart at peace gives life, but envy rots the bones…”
QUESTION – what is envy?
Basically envy is resenting God’s goodness to others, and ignoring His goodness to you…
John Piper defines it this way…
“Envy is a mingling of a desire for something with the resentment that another is enjoying it and you are not. Things aren’t going so well for you, but things are going well for them; and it just gnaws away at you sometimes.”
AND – here is how I like to define it…
Envy is resenting God’s grace in the lives of other people, while ignoring His grace in our own lives.
YET - the bible says that love does not envy…
Because (and listen, here is the big idea for this morning’s conversation)
Love, loves grace.
Love loves… Grace to you, and grace to other people.
NOW – because envy is such a hidden sin, we don’t really think it’s all that bad. LIKE - we don’t think it is nearly as big of a deal, as the more overt sins like, anger, murder or lust.
BUT - the bible says that envy is a very destructive sin…
“envy rots the bones…”
IN – one of his books Max Lucado compares envy to a small flame. CHECK OUT – what he wrote;
Suppose you potted a flame in your house. Not a blaze and certainly not a fire, but tiny tongues of heat dancing on the hem of a curtain on the fringe of the carpet, to side of the stove. What would you do? How would you react?
Would you shrug your shoulders and walk away, saying, “a little fire never hurt any house.”
Of course not. You’d put it out. Douse it, stamp on it, cover it – anything but allow it. You would not tolerate a Maverick flame in your house.
Why? Because you know the growth pattern of fire…
Left unattended, fire consumes all that is consumable.
You know, for the sake of the house, you don’t play with fire.
AND – for the sake of the heart, the same is true.
A warning should be offered about the fire of the heart, which left unchecked, can burst into a hungry flame and consume all that is consumable. The name of the fire?
Solomon tagged it. “Envy is cruel as the grave. It’s flashes are flashes of fire (Song of Solomon 8:6)
OKAY – here is how I want to attack our conversation this morning by unpacking 2 statements
• Why envy is so destructive
• How to put out the flames of envy
AND – we will use a parable that Jesus told in Matthew 20 as a launching pad for our discussion.
NOW – in this parable Jesus trying to get the attention of 2 people…
The religious leaders who were upset
#1 because they were missing this whole Jesus train, they were not getting it…
#2 because it was going out to the least of these kind of people. They kind of people they thought didn’t deserve it… “I deserve it but they don’t”
AND – the other people are those who understand that they do not deserve it… and they are totally blown away by it. “God loves me, God wants me, God accepts me… that’s amazing!”
(and as we read this parable you will know which camp you identify with because you will be cheering for one of them)
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.
NOW – the landowner is who? God…
SO – be sure to keep your finger on that as we read on...
Okay let’s note a few things…
• He is the one going out and looking
• A vineyard is where you grow grapes and grapes are where you get wine… and many times in Scriptures wine is associated with or symbolic of joy.
• So he is going out and inviting these men into joy and giving them a purpose
2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
• Denarius = a days wage and let’s say it’s $100
• The workday back then began at 6 am (the first hour) and went to 6 pm (the 12th hour)
3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.
• 3rd hour = 9 am
• Standing around = no purpose, no direction in life
• I will pay you… whatever is right
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.
• 6th hour = 12 pm
• 9th hour = 3 pm
6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?' 7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
• 11th hour = 5 pm
• “no one has hired us” … “no one has sought us out, no one wants me, no one found me worthy to work for them.”
MGCC – do you see the powerful truth being proclaimed “God wants you”
NOW – one of the shows we like to watch together as a family is ‘The Voice…” The show starts off with what they call the blind auditions… were a person performs and the 4 judges have their chairs turned away.
(show picture of a 4 chair turn 'I want you')
NOW – it is really sad to watch a person performing their heart and not have one chair turn
LISTEN – what some of you need to hear today is that God wants you… YEAH – it may be the 11th hour but he has already turned his chair…
IN FACT – you can cancel the audition because you already got the part.
OKAY – back to Matthew 20…
8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.' 9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.
OKAY – just picture this long line of workers waiting to get paid.
QUESTION – what do you think is going on in the minds of the workers who had been working all day, when they saw the guys who had only worked 1 hour get $100?
I am going to obviously get more.
10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it,
(they were so very thankful… no, not quite)
they began to grumble against the landowner.
12'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
(now let’s be honest here, let’s not get all super spiritual. Like, what would you say in this situation? I know what I would say, ‘It’s not fair.’
13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.
15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?' 16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last." - Matthew 20:1-16
SO – what are you going to do when life is not fair…
UNDERSTAND B/S – love does not envy.
OKAY – the first point in your notes…
I. Why Envy Is So Destructive…
One reason is;
A) Envy Causes Conflicts
James 4:1 "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?"
WHEN - I want what you have, that's called envy and it creates conflict. AND LISTEN - when you are caught up in envy you not only want your grass to be greener than somebody’s, you want their grass to turn brown!
THROUGHOUT - the pages of scripture we see the flames of envy causing conflict.
IN FACT, the human family does not even make it out of the fourth chapter of the first book before envy raises it’s ugly head, as we see Cain’s intense envy of his brother Abel.
ENVY - was at the root of the conflict between Joseph and His brothers…
ENVY – caused Moses own bother and sister (Miriam and Aaron) to rebel against him in the wilderness…
AND – in the book of 1 Samuel we meet the poster child for envy, King Saul… whose deep envy of David turned into a ragging fire of conflict and literally caused him to go insane and loose his kingdom…
AND – what about the Pharisees… Were they evil men? Criminal? Thugs? NO – they were the pastors and teachers of the day… SO – how in the world did they end up killing their Messiah? The Bible tells us that the Pharisees crucified Jesus because of envy.
I MEAN - all of a sudden all the people who had been following their religious rituals were following Jesus.
Matthew writes; “it was out of envy that they handed Jesus over to them.” (MT 27:18)
QUESTION – Does envy still create conflict today? You bet it does… LISTEN – if you grab a hold and dissect just about any conflict you will find the flames of envy…
"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?"
Another reason that envy is destruction is;
B) Envy leads to other sins
"For where you find envy and selfish ambition; there you will find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16
UNDERSTAND – envy can cause a person; to lie, gossip, be a hypocrite, slander, become bitter, to be angry, to hate…
YES - envy is a flame that fans into many other sins…
LISTEN – anytime you are green with envy, you are ripe for trouble! YOU SEE – envy give have satan (the roaring lion looking for someone to devour) a major foothold in your life…
A 3rd reason is so destructive…
C) Envy makes you miserable.
ENVY - destroys your happiness. It is so self destructive.
"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30
ENVY - is like a cancer. AND – if left unchecked…
IT’S - flames will spread and consume all that is consumable. CONSIDER - the following scenario:
A GUY – is happily married to a woman…
HE – likes his job, lives in a nice home, he has a good relationship with his kids… All in all, if you would ask him – he would say that he has a good life.
UNTIL HE - receives an invitation to attend the 20th reunion of his college graduating class. AT - the reunion he quickly discovers that many of his former classmates make a lot more than he does. SOME – have exciting jobs and travel to exotic places around the world.
OTHERS - are married to spouses who are more educated and more attractive than his wife.
I MEAN –this guy is not even done with his appetizer before it becomes obvious that - a large number of former classmates, have attained a higher social, academic and professional status than he has.
WHEN HE - he returns home from the weekend he is gnawed by a sense of failure. HE - questions his self-worth and begins to show signs of resentment toward his spouse. HE - begins to harbor a secret animosity toward his successful fellow alumni.
HE - begins to entertains thoughts - hoping for their setback or demise.
• Does he make less money?
• Has his wife grown unattractive?
• Has his job description changed?
No…! I MEAN - nothing in his life on Monday is different than what it was a few days earlier except his attitude. He has been burned by the deadly flames of envy. ENVY – stolen his peace… AND – is rotting his bones.
THERE - is a story of priest who the devil keeps trying to tempt and get to sin. The devil tried LUST and that didn't work. He tried ANGER and that didn't work. GREED and that didn't work. FINALLY – the devil said to him "Your brother has just been appointed bishop." THAT – worked.
4th envy is destructive;
D) Envy is a roadblock to love
Because love, loves grace…
UNDERSTAND – you cannot love someone and envy them at the same time…it’s impossible. That is why the bible says love does not envy…..NOTICE – that it doesn’t say love shouldn’t envy it simply says love does not envy…
BOTTOM LINE - if there is envy, then love is missing.
Because envy and love are mutually exclusive.
THEREFORE – we cannot love others, when we envy their…
Looks, talents, family, marriage, personality, possessions, achievements...
OKAY – so envy is really a bad thing, amen.
II. How To Put Out The Flames Of Envy
UNDERSTAND – if you want to live out God’s kind of love you have to overcome the flames of envy… and to do that you must, stop, start and keep.
A) Stop Comparing
NOW – comparing was what caused envy to rise up in the workers in Matthew 20…
WHEN THEY - saw those who had only worked one hour get that $100 bill. They started making comparisons:
“Awesome, look what they’re getting. We’re obviously going to get more. We deserve more. We ought to have more.”
NOW - the Bible says over and over again, never compare yourself to anybody else.
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves they are not wise. 2 Cor 10:12
DO you see what that verse is teaching?
It’s teaching us that comparing the way you look, your income, your intelligence, your kids, your spouse - your job or anything else is (foolish, dumb, and unwise).
One, reason is because you’re unique.
B/S – you were created by God and there’s nobody like you (never has been, never will be)
UNDERSTAND - the hand of Almighty God knit you in your mothers womb. YOU - according to scriptures are fearfully and wonderfully made.
God made the mold and then He broke it. Not because you were a mistake but because you are a one of kind masterpiece.
Therefore you can’t be compared to anybody else, you are unique. BOTTOM LINE - God did not create you to live someone else’s life.
AND – He never says ‘I was you were more like them, instead He says I wish you were more like you!
MGCC – you need to stop comparing…
AND – that is something that is getting harder and harder to do today in our world of social media.
In my studies this week I came across an article in ‘The Guardian’ called, “The age of envy: how to be happy when everyone else’s life looks perfect.”
Here is an exert from that article…
We live in the age of envy. Career envy, kitchen envy, children envy, food envy, upper arm envy, holiday envy. You name it, there’s an envy for it. Human beings have always felt what Aristotle defined in the fourth century BC as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have” – though it would be another thousand years before it would make it on to Pope Gregory’s list of the seven deadly sins.
But with the advent of social media, says Ethan Kross, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who studies the impact of Facebook on our wellbeing, “envy is being taken to an extreme”. We are constantly bombarded by “Photoshopped lives”, he says, “and that exerts a toll on us the likes of which we have never experienced in the history of our species. And it is not particularly pleasant.”
Clinical psychologist Rachel Andrew says she is seeing more and more envy in her consulting room, from people who “can’t achieve the lifestyle they want but which they see others have”. Our use of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, she says, amplifies this deeply disturbing psychological discord. “I think what social media has done is make everyone accessible for comparison,” she explains. “In the past, people might have just envied their neighbours, but now we can compare ourselves with everyone across the world.” Windy Dryden, one of the UK’s leading practitioners of cognitive behavioral therapy, calls this “comparisonitis”.
B) Start Enjoying
Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15
NOW – at least for me, the second half of the verse is usually much easier to do than the first half.
IT’S EASIER - to weep with those who weep.
IT’S EASIER - when someone is down, when they’ve had a tough time, to be sympathetic.
THE HARD THING – is to rejoice when they have a success.
YOU SEE - we don’t handle the success and good fortunes of other people very well.
Sometimes we’re threatened by it, and often times like the workers in Jesus story we resent it.
AND LISTEN MGCC – your greatest challenge with envy will more often then not be in the area that you’re most interested in. What I mean by that is… athletes envy other athletes, doctors envy other doctors, musicians envy other musicians. writers envy other writers, parents envy other parents, pastors envy other pastors.
YOU KNOW - I have never been envious of a good seamstress.
I MEAN - they can sew up all kinds of stuff - like there is no tomorrow but I do not feel threatened by them…
BUT – if I hear of another pastors success, while that is a totally different story.
DO YOU SEE – my point? There are areas in your life that you just don’t envy because you have no interest in those areas. BUT - if it gets a little bit closer to home… then envy comes riding in.
OKAY – here’s the deal…
ENVY - keeps you from entering into the joy of other people.
• For instance, let’s say you want to get married, but you’re not married right now. So every time you hear about a wedding, instead of being happy, you get resentful. You get envious. You can’t enjoy it.
• Or, let’s say you want to have a baby, but you’re not having a baby. So every time you hear about a baby being born, you don’t ‘really’ rejoice. You get envious.
• Or you want a promotion, and somebody else in your company gets promoted. You don’t rejoice over that promotion. (“Good for you! Congratulations!”) No, you’re thinking, “How come not me?”
UNDERSTAND - if the only time you’re happy is when good things are happening to you, you’re not going to be happy all that much, because the truth is good things don’t happen to you all the time.
A LOT - of life is just average…
AND A LOT - of life is bad things happening to you.
BUT - if you START TO ENJOY the good things that happen to others, you can be happy all the time.
Because something good is always happening to somebody.
Seriously wouldn’t that be a great way to live…
genuinely enjoying (not resenting) the grace that God pours out on other people!
Love, loves grace
God’s grace to other people, and God’s grace to you.
YOU SEE – to put out the flames of envy not only do you need to start enjoying God’s grace to others but also His grace to you.
LIKE WHAT IF - instead of focusing so much on what you don’t have and what didn’t happen, you enjoying and celebrating all you do have.
SO - instead of complaining like these workers in Jesus’ parable did… ABOUT - what wasn’t happening, what they didn’t get, you remember that you’d have nothing at all, without God and His goodness.
UNDERSTAND – Envy is based on a myth.
AND here’s the myth; “I have to have more to be happy. I have to have something I don’t have now to be happy.”
And you get caught up in this myth and you start focusing on everyone else.
YOU SEE - envy always looks at others and asks, “Why them? Why did they deserve it? I deserve what they have.”
But gratitude says, “Why me? Why did I get this? I don’t deserve what I have.”
GRATITUDE totally flips around the perspective of our mind.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 6:9, “It’s better to be satisfied with what you have than always to be wanting something else.” I already have more than I deserve – you already have more than you deserve… God has been good to you… (salvation, eternity in heaven…)
(When you find the flame of ember begin to grow in your heart … start enjoying what you have.’
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. – James 1:17
B) Keep Trusting
1. Keep trusting in God’s Goodness
In Matthew 20… the workers felt that they were being treated unfairly.
NOT - because they weren’t paid what they were promised. They were. They got exactly what they were promised.
BUT - when the other guys were paid the same amount - they felt as though - they were being ripped off…
These men who were hired last worked only one hour, and yet you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.
We worked harder, we worked longer, our work was tougher, we worked when it was hot…
NOW - I love the landowner’s replay in the next verse.
AND REMEMBER – who He represents…
“Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denaruis? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money. Or are you envious because I am generous.” – Matthew 20:12-15
THE - bottom line on envy is this. When you’re envious, you’re in a battle with God. WHO - did the workers grumble against? NO - your problem really isn’t with the person you envy – it’s with God. You’re doubting His goodness in your life.
YOU - resent His decision to bless somebody else.
YOU’RE - accusing God of being unfair.
YOU - don’t think God has your best interest at heart.
YOU – think God loves somebody else more than He loves you… THAT - God is playing favorites. YOU – don’t trust Him.
CHECK OUT – what David wrote in Psalm 37… IT’S – killer. I don’t know for sure the context for it. BUT – I think David wrote it he spent years running and hiding from King Saul (not a very good guy)… who lived in a palace while he lived in caves.
Wait and trust the Lord. Don’t be upset when others get rich or when someone else’s plans succeed. Don’t get angry. Don’t be upset; it only leads to trouble. – Psalm 37:7,8
LISTEN - the problem in envy is, you have forgotten…
• To trust in the Lord
• That He is always fair
• how much God loves you.
IF Envy is the fever. Doubting God is the infection.
And any time you start envying, it’s because you’re doubting God. That is why one of the antidotes that will rid your life of envy is to remember to trust in God goodness when life ‘seems’ unfair, and to…
2. Keep Trusting In God’s Plan For You
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11
TRUST – in God’s plan for ‘your’ life.
DON’T - allow yourself to get distracted by what’s going on in the lives of other people.
There’s a simple phrase in this story that the owner says to those who were grumbling, griping… TO THOSE - who didn’t get what they ‘thought’ they deserved, Matthew 20:14, “Take your money now and go.”
NOW – I like that…
UNDERSTAND – the landowner is basically saying to those who are complaining, to those who can’t get past it… “It’s time to move on. It’s time to go to the next step in your life.
Quit having a pity party. Get over it!”
• Don’t worry about them – worry about yourself
• Don’t focus on what I am doing in the lives of others – focus on what I want to do in your life.
NOW - there is an awesome encounter in John chapter 21 – that illustrates this idea so powerfully.
Jesus is talking to Peter…
I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." – John 21:18-22
Jesus says to Peter, in the original Greek, "It's none of your business!" "What is that to you?
I have a plan for your life so what does it matter if John lives until I come back?
I have a plan that's unique to you.
Don't worry about what my plan is for somebody else."
LISTEN – Almighty God has awesome plans for your life… for every single life in this room….
BUT you will miss it, you will never see, live, fulfill, achieve or experience them…
IF you are worrying about other people… and about what God is doing in their life…
Chances are there may be someone in this room who is hung up on this and God wants you to hear these 5 words – “what is that to you…”
YOU – follow me.
YOU – live out my plan for your life
YOU – keep trusting.
Love does not envy
Love, loves grace