Freedom From Envy: Thankfulness Changes Everything
Don’t let other people’s blessings rob you of yours. Thankfulness is the key to enjoying the life God intended for you.
“Thank you,” is more than just a social formality. Thankfulness is a virtue, and a powerful one at that. Learn to use it correctly, and it can bring you freedom from envy.
Money can make slaves of us in all sorts of ways, warping our attitudes and stopping us from using our resources the way God wants us to. And among all the ways money can enslave us, envy is one of the most sneaky.Among all the ways money can enslave us, envy is one of the most sneaky. tweet this!
You can have a good head on your shoulders, live on a budget, avoid debt and even be a faithful giver. But if your heart is full of envy, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve been blessed — you’ll constantly be tempted to compare yourself to others. When you do that, your heart becomes blind. And you miss out on the riches of Christ in your own life.
Fortunately, God has promised us freedom from envy.
Envy is an attitude that flares up whenever you see someone who has something you want. If you can’t stand people who are more successful than you, you probably suffering from a case of envy.
Envy gives us tunnel vision. If Jimmy has a new car that I just love, envy will cause me to become fixated on Jimmy and his car. My thought process can go like this:
Wow, that’s a great car. I wish I had a car like that.
I wonder how Jimmy got that kind of car. It seems like Jimmy has a lot of nice things.
I don’t know how I could ever afford that. I work really hard, and I can’t have nice things like that.
Jimmy probably doesn’t even work that hard. Does Jimmy really deserve to have that car?
Don’t I deserve it more than he does?
Jimmy always gets everything, and it’s so not fair. I work so hard, and I don’t get anything that I want.
Jimmy gets everything he wants. I’m really angry at Jimmy. I don’t even want to see Jimmy or his stupid car.
God, why are you so good to Jimmy and so bad to me?
When you see it written out like that, it sounds fairly ridiculous. But if you’re honest with yourself, you may recognize that thought process from your own life. I’ve been down that road a time or two.
Remembering What Matters
When you focus on things somebody else has, you lose focus on the important things in your life. You forget all the challenges that Jimmy faces in his life that you don’t have to. And you ignore all the great blessings in your own life. Soon, it becomes impossible to be joyful about your life because your heart is so consumed by envying his.
To get our hearts back in the right place, we must reset our focus. It’s dangerous to go through life blinded by envy. We must expand our field of vision and look at God’s goodness instead of focusing on perceived injustices. And the best way to do this is thankfulness.When you focus on things somebody else has, you lose focus on the important things in your life. tweet this!
When I give thanks for the blessings in my life, it expands my fields of vision. Instead of focusing on the narrowness of my existence, I begin to see the greatness of God. My challenges pale in comparison to the goodness of God’s plan. And the inconveniences that I deal with are nothing in light of the rich blessings He gives me in Christ.
Finding Freedom from Envy
To find freedom from envy, start giving thanks for things around you… even if you don’t feel particularly thankful. If your heart is in a really bad place, start with something simple like hot water (a luxury that hasn’t existed for the vast majority of human history). Give thanks for a warm bed and a refrigerator full of food.
Be thankful for the company that employs you, even if working isn’t your favorite thing to do. Give thanks for the family that loves you and the friends support you. Thank God for your community of faith and the life you find there.To find freedom from envy, start giving thanks for things around you... even if you don't feel particularly thankful. tweet this!
God created the universe cares enough about you to listen to your prayers. Thank Him for sending His only son to rescue you from the consequences of your sin and give you freedom from envy.
Spend some time cultivating a thankful heart, and you’ll soon discover so much to be thankful for that it overwhelms you. With an eternal perspective, you’ll find that what Jimmy has or doesn’t have is inconsequential. We have all been blessed beyond what we deserve.
If envy threatens to enslave your heart, fight back with thankfulness. After all, if you’re busy thanking God for the things He has given you, you’ll have little time left for worrying about the things He hasn’t given you yet.