Locations of visitors to this page
Green with Envy
Scripture: Matthew 20:1-15; James 3:14-16; Isaiah 1...
Track 7 of 12 in the Soul Detox series
Running time: 59 minutes, 39 seconds.
Our culture thrives on envy. When was the last time you heard a commercial or read an ad for a product that told the message, Dont buy this, as much as we would love to sell this to you, you really dont need it If we are going to experience a clean, spiritual way of living, then like the Apostle Paul we must learn to be content in all things. We must learn to recognize envy in all its forms and have the antidote for its deadly poison close at hand.

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Toxic Emotions
Green with Envy

How many of you remember the popular hymn, Count Your Many Blessing? Do you remember how it goes?

What is the value of remembering or counting the blessings God has given you? What happens when we start to count the blessings of someone else?

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own. Harold Coffin

Susie lost her first tooth and after putting her tooth under her pillow, she was elated to discover that the tooth fairy left her a whole dollar. That lasted only for a few hours because when she went to school she discovered that her friend Molly had lost a tooth and her tooth fairy left her 5 dollars. That fact totally ruined Susie's day.

Susie was beside herself, as distraught as any investor would be watching her portfolio shrink before her very eyes. She wondered aloud, “Daddy, why, why, why? It just isn’t fair. How come I only get a dollar when Molly gets five?”

As Susie continued to think about the unfairness of her situation she said aloud, “Daddy, maybe we can find out which tooth fairy they use and just switch to theirs!”

True or False: You were totally happy with your job until you discovered the person working next to you was paid more.

Matthew 20:1-15 (NIV)
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. "About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went. "He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?' "'Because no one has hired us,' they answered."He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.' "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.' "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

Envy: The art of personal scrutiny in which we compare where we stand in the world with where we see others. Our word envy comes from the Latin word “invidia” which literally means “to look upon with malice or resentment.”

Envy in a nutshell is the marriage between comparison and resentment.

Put simply, envy is when you resent God’s goodness in other people’s lives and ignore God’s goodness in your own. It is when you think,

They've got it and I want it.
They don’t even deserve it.
They shouldn't have it in the first place.

True or False: We can have it all.

Our culture thrives on envy. When was the last time you heard a commercial or read an ad for a product that told the message, “Don’t buy this, as much as we would love to sell this to you, you really don’t need it? If we are going to experience a clean, spiritual way of living, then like the Apostle Paul we must learn to be content in all things. We must learn to recognize envy in all its forms and have the antidote for its deadly poison close at hand.

Different forms of Envy:

• Material envy: Things just attract us. No sooner after we get the newest and latest thing, someone else has a newer one, bigger one or better one than we think we have thus we too must have it.

• Technology Envy: Let’s be honest, size matters. It makes no difference if you have the best 42” HD flat screen TV with surround sound and 3D viewing, if your neighbor gets a 54” screen, then your TV is no longer acceptable…you have to have the 60” screen. Until your neighbor takes out his new smart phone and your like, Man, that’s amazing! I’d give anything for one that small.”

• Appearance Envy: One woman sees another woman and thinks, “Her figure is cuter than mine.” Her chest is bigger and her hips are smaller. What is it about women, they want some parts bigger while they want some parts smaller.

True or False: Honey, do I look fat?

Of course guys aren't above envy in their appearance. A man’s hair can be sacred. When a man sees another man with thicker, nicer hair than his, he wishes he had less hair on his back and more on his head. If that were true for me, I would look like a hippy.

• Relational Envy: This is very common. Two single women are great friends. They hang out together and their close…until one finds a boy friend. At first the one without the boyfriend is happy for her friend, then what happens?

Married people have the same struggles. Wives compare their husbands to other husbands, husbands do the same thing. How come you can’t be like…or do the same things like…? When it comes to encouragement, romance, helping the other person or loving gestures, someone else’s’ spouse seems to do it better than yours. Other spouses have better jobs, handle their kids better or can take their family on vacations anytime they want and can afford it. Wow, I wish I had that.

But here is the problem, allowing envy in your heart is like planting nuclear waste in your flowerbed. It will contaminate everything around it and will kill everything living. Scripture doesn't mince words when it comes to dealing with envy.

James 3:14-16 (NIV)
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

There are a lot of examples of envy found in the Bible. What was the envy over and what was the outcome?

Cain and Able Genesis 4
Rachel and Leah Genesis 30
Joseph and his brothers Genesis 37
Saul and David 1 Samuel 18

How about this one in Isaiah 14:

Isaiah 14:12-14 (NIV)
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."

What was Lucifer’s problem? He envied God.

We will do good to remember that envy is clearly the flint that ignites evil in our hearts. It apparently signals “I am available” to demons searching for a cheap date. Envy causes evil to explode inside us.

Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Okay, we now know what is not good to do, what can we do about it? The first step starts by not doing something.

2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

Envy begins with comparison. The best way to cut it off at the roots is don’t compare. Peter the Apostle did the same thing.

John 21:18-22 (NIV) Peter’s Reinstatement
I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!" Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."

Here is the real problem with envy within the church, when we look comparatively at each other, we’re not seeing each other as brothers and sisters. We’re not loving each other more than ourselves and we definitely are not seeing each other as God sees us. Romans 2 makes it very clear, God does not show favoritism. For each one of us, we too must not view people within groups.

Galatians 6:4-5 (NIV)
Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.