Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. ~ Proverbs 23:17
As a child, I didn’t enjoy the Christian life that my parents forced upon me. I didn’t like my Christian school. I didn’t like going to church THREE times a week and sitting for an hour or more. I didn’t like going back to church EVERY Thursday night for soulwinning, even though I was allowed to stay at church and play in the gym. I didn’t like kids’ choir practice. I didn’t like dressing differently from my peers in the world. I wanted to fit in. I couldn’t do that very well since I wasn’t watching the TV shows and movies that my neighbors watched or listening to the music they listened to. I was an oddball. I hated being odd, even though I knew the Bible says we are to be a “peculiar people”, I still hated it. The problem was my sin. I was abiding under the wrath of God, therefore, trying to be a Christian was an impossibility for me. I spent most of my days envying those in the world who were relaxed, comfortable and seemingly happy.
As of June 12, 1993, my perspective did a 180° turn. I still felt like an oddball, but that was because all fifteen year olds feel that way. After I met Christ, I didn’t loath Christian activities anymore. In fact, now I was seeking after those things. I had a hunger and thirst for righteousness. I enjoyed hearing the preaching – it finally made sense! I started to love singing, and I began thinking about the words to those songs. I noticed they were rich with love and praise for the Savior, and sometimes, I actually became misty-eyed during congregational singing. For the first time in my life, prayer was talking to my Father, not just going through a hollow tradition. The Bible, while still confusing in places, was opening itself up like never before. My mind didn’t wander as often. Everything was different.
My salvation was over 21 years ago. I wish I could say that I have never envied the un-saved world since that day. I wish I could say that I had the LORD on my mind first thing each morning for 21 years. But that would be a lie. I have often felt envy toward the success of the world – their fame, their finances, or their fun. I’m sorry to say that sometimes I fall into a pity-party, thinking how hard my life is as I labor for the Lord. But just as those jealous thoughts start to dig in and grow roots, the Holy Spirit reminds me of today’s verse, or one of the following verses:
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. ~Psalm 1:4-5
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. ~ Psalm 9:17
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. ~ Psalm 37:1-2
The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth. ~ Proverbs 10:30
But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God. ~ Ecclesiastes 8:13
After recalling some of these passages, I no longer feel envious of the world. Instead, I become thankful for the destiny that God has provided me. The things that I had just viewed as “sacrifices”, I now see as “opportunities”. I feel moved to share the Gospel with others, so that they might know how wonderful this Christian life is! I go from envy, to gratitude in 2.3 seconds. And it’s all because of the precious Word of God.
One thought on “Proverbs 23: From Envy to Gratitude in 2.3 Seconds”
Amen! He’s still working on me, but the Christian life is the greatest life. Oh, how I wish I had known God’s ways from childhood. I wouldn’t be sinless, but I would have avoided so many unwise and sinful decisions.