The Envy Virus
Van Walton

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17 (NIV)

When God told Moses to write the 10th commandment, He did so for a reason. He knew that we, His children, would struggle with a debilitating disease that would have symptoms such as chronic dissatisfaction, an addiction to others’ possessions and lifestyles, infection of inferiority, a complaining disorder, and a syndrome of overall ungratefulness.

I believe that focusing too much on my friend’s accomplishments, neighbor’s accumulations, sister’s accolades, or co-workers’ acumen gives root to a practice that will result in a negative outcome. I often remind myself, “comparing my life to others’ leads to dissatisfaction.”

This insidious disease begins with a glance. That’s all right if you can stop it, but beware of the second longing look because it’s the coveting spirit takes its prey captive. Now you think you want what you see. Before long, envy sets in. This leads to jealousy, greed, and resentment. Like a disease, desire for that which you cannot have, consumes. It eats away at mind, heart, and soul and robs its host of peace, comfort, and rest.

I know people who live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction and discontentment because they don’t have what others have. This virus has infected me and made me miserable. Due to its contagious nature, my children caught it. I vowed to rid my family of the menacing bug, but it was immune to many treatments. Only one seems to work: CAP IT.

Change focus. Choose contentment. If certain circumstances or people remind you of what you don’t have, remove yourself. Don’t expose yourself to temptations that cause resentment. CAP IT!

Ask God to remove your longings for things you cannot have or don’t need. As soon as your heart turns toward the idols of this world and you find yourself searching for ways to become happy, be it a shopping spree, room makeover, piece of jewelry, or a prestigious pre-school, cry out to God. Ask Him to show you where everlasting joy can be found. A worthwhile life is not created by accumulating things. CAP IT!

Practice an attitude of gratitude. God placed each of us where we are for a purpose. It may be temporary or long term. He has a plan to use us in our present circumstances. If God plans to bring us prosperity, prominence, or success, He has the power to change our circumstances! Meanwhile, praise God for what you do have. CAP IT!

Instruct the children. When the disorder affects our children, we need a consistent and ready response. For instance, “We have chosen a different lifestyle.” It’s important not to say things that might make our families seem inferior to others. Avoid comments like, “I am sorry. I wish I could give you more. We don’t have the money.” As Christian parents, teaching our children to live a life of dignity regardless their socio-economic status is important. We don’t need to defend our positions in life if we are setting godly examples. When children complain, take them to work in a soup kitchen or an assisted living facility. Don’t allow comparisons or complaining to infiltrate family conversations. CAP IT!

Take your thoughts captive. Conquer this disease before it takes hold. As God’s dignified daughters, we are to hold our heads high focusing on Our King and His everlasting promises.. Envious thoughts force our glance downward, turning our countenance into a frown and causing our shoulders to stoop in resignation. CAP IT!

Dear Lord, I confess to living a life that is focused on the world, rather than on You. Nothing this life has to offer compares to Your plan for my life. Lord, help me to live a life of contentment knowing that You have a mansion for me in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

Shaped with Purpose by Renee Swope

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Decide today to repent for your dissatisfaction and lack of gratefulness. Ask God to help change your focus each time you glance longingly at someone else’s life. Recite a portion of 2 Corinthians 10:5: I am “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”

Describe a time you had to have something in order to feel content. Did the gratification last?

Name a person who “has it all.” What fills this person’s life? Would this person be completely comfortable with only Jesus as the source of joy?

Power Verses:
Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (NASB)

1 Timothy 6:8, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (NIV)

Hebrews 13:5, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” (NLT)

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Blogger Lori said...

Thank you for a great devo on Envy. It realy is a virus. Can I use this in a newletter for our Womens ministry at my local church?

Blogger Van said...

Hi Lori, Thank you for your kind words. I am honred that you would like to use this devotion for your Women's Ministry. I only ask that you give Proverbs 31 Ministries the credit by sharing with your readers our web site address. God bless you. Van

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This message could not have come at a better time. My husband and I decided that I would stay home full time to be with our children. I have struggled lately with missing all "the things" two incomes could buy. This helped me to be grateful to God for all I have especially the time with my children.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Envy Virus: This message has reached the depth of my inner most being. l have struggled with Envy for as long as l remember, and this has caused me a few relationships.
l have now come to understand that God is a mericful and loving God and that he provides all our needs according to his riches in glory, l am not as envious as l use to be and l am trusting God, that he will completely erase this virus from my life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your message and agree, but I have a question. Are we not to want things. Like a home if you rent, or a bed or bedroom furniture for your children. I don't necessary want what others have exactly, but I would like to provide at least simply things for my children, without being envious of others.

Blogger Unknown said...

I just want to say this devotion for me related to more than just money. It talked about "things" you can't have. It talked about learning something in this time and being content in Christ. Suffice it to say, it really spoke to my heart about a relationship that I desire to have but am waiting on the Lord's perfect timing for. I don't have to be envious, I can wait patiently for the Lord's will to be done however he chooses.

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