September 21, 2012
I am amazed by the “Hollywood” news shows on TV. All the stories are about rich celebrities, who have so much going for them, but who are in some kind of trouble. Tiger Woods’ affairs, Lindsay Lohan’s arrests, Charlie Sheen’s addictions, Amy Winehouse’s overdose, Heath Ledger’s suicide, and the suicides of so many prominent athletes.
Some of the world’s most miserable people are those whose external and material situations should buy them the most happiness. So as we watch world-famous people or even folks in our communities, we have to ponder what joy and peace have to do with our circumstances. We’ve been brainwashed to think that a better job, body, health, house, status, financial portfolio, or spouse is all we need to “find” happiness.
We repeatedly see people who reach the top of the ladder by society’s standards, only to find emptiness, stress, doubt, insecurity, fear, addictions, or chaotic behavior awaiting them. How often do people say, “If I just won a million dollars, my life would be perfect?” Did you know that thirty percent of lottery winners who win more than one million dollars are dealing with divorce, financial struggle, significant health issues, legal or addiction problems, estrangement from family or kids, depression, or suicide within three years? Our flesh always wants MORE! But what we want the most – happiness, security, and unconditional love – can’t be bought by material resources.
God’s Holy Word tells us that we are not to set our desires on anything that belongs to others. Not only can these cravings make us miserable, they can lead us to other sins such as adultery, addiction, gossip, or theft.
True joy will never come by envying others. True joy is a byproduct of living in the presence of God. Realize He gives you exactly what you need, and focus on stewarding that well. Then you can experience true joy anywhere and in any circumstance, from palaces to prisons. Once He sees you can handle what you have, He will bless you with so much more (defined by God and crafted specifically for you) because He is a generous and loving God.
Today, be mindful of envious thoughts and desires. When you start to eye up what you don’t have, STOP! Look inside and explore why God hasn’t given it to you yet. Would it really be the best thing for you right now? Then look at what He has given you, and be thankful. Concentrate on staying in communication with God to understand the “whys”. There’s no need to be envious of anyone. After all, the most precious and valuable possession is free and available to everyone: a relationship with God and eternal life through Christ. Tune in tomorrow for more on envy’s trap. Material richness or true wealth in your inner core … which one you pursue is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I thank You for all the blessings and gifts You have given me. I know that You will provide everything I need. But Father, I confess that at times I am envious of others and their possessions and circumstances. Grow in me a heart and mind for the eternal kingdom and awareness of my spiritual needs … a heart less focused on material and psychological answers that are short-sighted, quick fix solutions. Thank You for being patient with me. I am a slow learner, but I’m excited about what You are showing me in my life these last few years. In Jesus’ all-satisfying name we pray; and all God’s children say –AMEN!
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Deuteronomy 5:21
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed. 2 Corinthians 9:8