I'd like to take you back to the Spring of 1991.
Yours truly was just 10 1/2 years old.
I was spunky, outgoing, competitive, and rather dramatic.
It was fundraiser time at my school when students would go Door-To-Door raising pledges for the annual Bike-A-Thon in which students would ride their bikes on a three mile loop for as many miles as their kid legs would take them.
I loved everything about the Bike-A-Thon.
I loved the plege competition of raising the most money.
I loved riding my bike around the loop over and over again attempting to ride the most miles of any other girl in my class.
I loved the challenge of making it up the crazy-steep hill without stopping.
I loved the break from school and the chance to socialize with friends.
But there was one thing I did NOT like...
my uncool, banana seat BIKE.
It looked a little bit like this...
It so happened that this year all the other girls had cool NEW ten speed bikes.
I vividly remember pulling my bike out of the van, walking it up to the start line and hearing the other girls laughing at me and my bike.
As I looked around and saw all their cool ten speeds,
I was instantaneously envious.
I'm talking the green with envy kind of jealousy.
In that moment, my bike which was good enough earlier that morning was no longer going to cut it.
In that moment, I resented all the other girls and their fancy ten speeds.
I knew that not only did their bikes make them look cooler, they would also help them bike faster.
It was a win-win for them
and a lose-lose for me.
So, I devised a plan.
Using the spunk God gave me for evil, I persuaded another girl to switch bikes with me for one loop around.
After giving her my best sales pitch, she naively agreed.
Little did she know that I would zoom ahead of her shortly after the event began and she wouldn't find me or her bike until several hours later.
I know, I know.
I should be ashamed of myself.
I left this poor girl with my Clunker-Junker of a bike while I lived it up and paraded about on her Hot Pink, Rolls-Royce ten speed.
Needless to say, she was not happy when she finally caught up to me (I had to take a potty and food break).
She quickly snatched her bike and left the Bananer-Mobile with me.
I spent the remainder of the day reminiscing about those few precious hours of glory earlier in the day.
All kidding aside, my 10 year old envy turned me ugly green.
I became discontent with the bike my parents had generously given me a few years before.
I resented the other girls for having a social and competitive advantage on me.
And so...I manipulated and devised an evil, nasty plan.
Envy is defined as...
A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by desire for the possessions or qualities of another.
This week at a Bible Study I attend we studied the story of Joseph and his brothers.
Joseph's father, Jacob, foolishly favored him over his other sons.
So much so, that he gave Joseph a fancy-shmancy coat that became a constant visual reminder to his brothers of their father's favoritism.
As a result, Joseph's brothers were envious of him.
This envy turned to HATE and finally escaladed to the point of plotting to kill Joseph. In the end, they sold him into slavery instead.
Nothing good came from Joseph's brother's envy. Nothing.
Just like nothing good came from King Saul's envy of David (1 Samuel 18:6-16), King Herod's envy of baby Jesus (Matthew 2:3), or the angel Lucifer's envy of God (Isaiah 14:12-14).
In every case, envy led to corrupt and disorderly choices and behaviors.
James 3:16 says,
"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."
My Bible Study teacher shared 3 revealing truths regarding one's spiritual reality when envious:
1. Envy reflects an underlying dissatisfaction with God's sovereign decree for our lives.
2. Envy is resistance to or resentment of what God has or is doing in our lives.
3. We can't dethrone God in our desire to redeal the possessions and events in our life.
Read them again. They are powerful truths.
Have you seen your children turn green with envy?
Maybe they are envious of...
The attention their sibling is getting
The techno-gadgets all the other kids have
The popular, beautiful crowd
The athletic kid who always gets to play in the game
Or the friend who showed up at the playground with a new, fancy bike?
Where there is envy in our children's hearts, there will be disorder, dissatisfaction, resentment, and sinful behaviors in their lives.
When their is envy in our children's hearts, they will make attempts to dethrone God and redeal the possessions and events in their lives in order to attain THAT which birthed and motivated their envy in the first place.
Join me today and let's pray the following over our children:
I pray that my children's hearts would not became ensnared by envy, like Joseph's brothers, leading to sinful, disorderly, dissatisfied, and resentful behaviors. I pray they would be fully satisfied by Your sovereign plan for their lives. I pray they would trust you and believe that their possessions and life events are yours to control.
Genesis 37; James 3:16