Practical tools for ridding our hearts of envy, and finding freedom in Christ

Friday, November 30, 2012

“Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, . . . not in strife and envy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:12-14).

IDEA: God gives us the means of dealing with the sin of envy.

PURPOSE: To help listeners think constructively about dealing with envy in their lives.

Has anyone close to you had to deal with cancer?

What did they do to try to get it arrested or stamped out of their system? If you had cancer, what lengths would you go to in order to be rid of it?

Envy is like cancer. It is a dreadful disease that destroys us and destroys others around us. Envy affects families, fellowships, and friendships.

I. You must want to be rid of it.

That seems self-evident. But just as some folks deny the presence of cancer in their bodies, we can easily deny the presence of envy in our lives.

We can convince ourselves that we’re not envious at all; we just see things as they are and “we call a spade a spade.”

Even if we recognize envy in our lives, we may convince ourselves that it isn’t a big deal: everyone is envious, so what’s so bad about that?

We cannot begin to do anything about envy in our hearts and minds until we see the truth about envy and want to be rid of it.

II. What are some steps we can take to rid ourselves of envy?

The first step to overcoming the sin of envy in our lives is to recognize the futility of it.

Envy is a dead-end street that should have no place in our lives.

As we recognize the futility of envy, we can take the second step to overcoming this sin in our lives: we can accept God’s evaluation of what is best for us.

God gives to each of us the proper gifts and place for the benefit of the kingdom (1 Corinthians 12).

Recognize that one person or gift or position is not better than another (1 Corinthians 3:3-8).

We are called to put to good use what God has given us and not focus on what we lack.

We start with God’s evaluation of envy as we see it in Romans 13:12-14:

We acknowledge that envy is a “work of darkness.”

We begin to put on the “armor of light” and “walk properly.”

We “put on Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.”

III. So we begin to rid ourselves of envy by taking the first two steps:

We recognize its futility.

We accept God’s evaluation of what is best for us.

There is more, but we’re out of time today. We’ll continue with the steps to rid ourselves of envy in the next programs.