Enough – The Heart of the Battle
How to fight against envy and jealousy
This blog series is focused on one powerful, audacious truth. We have enough. I am urging us to cultivate a heart that embraces this truth, believes this truth and lives with its assurance. Deep contentment is the fruit of the heart that believes it has enough. Contentment means being at peace in the storm, calm in the chaos, and trusting in God’s supply when want claws at the door.
Contentment is a direct result of faith that God not only will supply all our need, but that He has. It is a present tense affirmation that the promise has been fulfilled and is being fulfilled every day in all that we see and experience and steward.
At war with this contented heart are the twin temptations of envy and jealousy. Together they rob us of the peace meant for every child of the King who takes God at His word. To wreak their havoc, envy and jealousy rely on vehicles to transport them to our hearts.
In my day, one tool was the annual Christmas letter. On the red and green pages of countless Christmas resumes, every family was perfect, every child successful, every vacation awesome and every career flourishing. Of course, it was a façade, a highlight reel meant to accentuate the positive and conceal the blemishes.
Today, social media serves as a kind of Christmas letter on steroids. It may be the greatest initiator of envy, incubator of jealousy and dispenser of discontent ever known to humanity. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram foster a faux culture. Millions of us post our (embellished) victories and flaunt our triumphs – big, small and even the insignificant – for the admiration and applause of everyone. And for the envy. Lots of envy.
Social media is a shameless platform for comparison and competition. We evaluate our real life – with all its struggles and disappointments – against the sanitized facsimiles of social media’s camouflage culture. The affect is a growing, gnawing discontentment.
How do we battle such a formidable enemy? We respond by proclaiming the truth in this sea of hyperbole. And the truth is everywhere in Scripture. Listen, and believe!
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:7-8
The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
William Law put it this way,
“If someone is leaving you behind, and you are becoming jealous and embittered, keep praying that he may have success in the very matter where he is awakening your envy; and whether he is helped or not, one thing is sure, that your own soul will be cleansed and ennobled.”
We need our souls cleansed from polluting envy and poisonous jealousy. Comparison means we are looking to the side instead of to God. It breeds resentment – first in our neighbor and then in the God who blessed them more than us. It soils our soul. Solomon said it this way,
“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business!” Ecclesiastes 4:8
We must choose to deny the culture of comparison, the ‘miserable business’ of coveting what we do not have and lamenting what we have not attained. Start by denying the enemy the tools with which he torments you. Be on guard for how social media impacts you. Pray before you log on, watch your spirit as you surf, and when envy begins to percolate in your soul, shut it off!
I encourage you to say the prayer from two weeks ago – with one line now added. Here it is again. It is a declaration of freedom in a world in bondage to discontentment born of envy and jealousy. Pray it. Proclaim it. Believe it.
“Lord, thank you for giving me enough time to accomplish everything you ask me to do. Help me to steward every minute wisely.
Lord, thank you for giving me enough financial resources to meet my needs. Help me to steward them faithfully.
Lord, thank you for giving me enough health and energy to carry out the work to which you have called me. Help me to steward them joyfully.
Lord, thank you for giving me enough love and affirmation to satisfy my spirit. Help me to treasure it daily.
Lord, thank you for giving me enough rest in you to refresh my soul. Let it wash over me until my heart is content in you.
Lord, thank you for making me the way I am and working in me to be more like you every day. Let my identity as your child fill me with total contentment and peace.”