Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, January 20, 2016
This Week’s Devotional Focus is, “Love.”
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Envy. This is one of the more dangerous emotions known in the universe. In fact, Lucifer found this out when iniquity was mysteriously found in him (Ezekiel 28:15). Instead of being content with the high position of leadership and unsurpassing beauty that God had bestowed upon him, he coveted the position and worship belonging only to the Most High Himself. It was then that the one who was honored by the name that meant son of the morning became the prince of darkness. God had given Lucifer unparalleled gifts and favor, but he could not be satisfied. This was not love.
Perhaps you have experienced envy in your life, whether you have been a victim or the one in whom it was found. While envy and jealousy are used interchangeably at times, let’s make an important distinction in this devotional. In the giving of the Ten Commandments, the Bible says that our God is a jealous God. This self-description comes on the heels of His command to reject the worship of anything in His place. God loves to share good and perfect gifts with us. In fact, all of creation waits upon Him to do so. But, He does not share our affections with anything or anyone. So, here we find the positive side of jealousy. When God sees the actual threat of our love being redirected to something or someone else, He becomes jealous. In the divine model of jealousy, the one who becomes justifiably jealous, simply becomes protective of the affection they are due, and no more. This is love.
Envy on the other hand, which is always negative, becomes covetous of that which does not belong to the envier. One who envies sees your relationship with your spouse, and becomes dissatisfied with their lack of relationship, and dissatisfied with the fact that you are in a great situation. Then this wicked emotion creeps in. This envy can be of persons, places, or things. It does not discriminate. Whatever you have is fair game to envy. This is not love.
Therefore, the antidote for envy, thereby giving us a clear path to love, is respecting all that God has given to us, as well as what He has given to others. When we are content and grateful at all times, we can see other’s possessions, talents, and relationships as blessings for their enjoyment. “True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content” (1 Timothy 6:6–8, NLT).