Psalm 37 – The Cure for Envy

There are so many opportunities for envy, but Psalm 37:4 is an amazing promise, because envy usually arises from not having the desire of your heart. You will see somebody that has something that you wish you had, and you’ll see that this desire is missing in this life. So the best way to fight is to go to this promise and say, “Now Lord, you have made a covenant with me in verse 4. You say that, if I will put my delight in you, you will give me the desires of my heart. So I am now going to delight in you.”
Now that’s a key step: trusting in God sufficiently so that you come to rest in who he is for you. It may also have a profound effect on the kind of desires you must have met in order to be content. But all the desires that you have will eventually be satisfied. That’s the essence of those amazing promises in Romans 8:32 (“If he did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, will he not with him freely give you all things?”) or in 1 Corinthians 3:21–23 (“All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or life or death or things present or things to come — all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”). The Bible makes staggering promises for people whose delight is in God rather than things.
In John 21, Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved — that is, John. When Peter saw him he said to Jesus, “Lord what about this man?” Now what’s going on here? Why is he saying that? He said, You’ve just told me I’m going to get killed. What about John? Is he going to get killed too?” And you can see, just beneath the surface, envy in Peter’s heart. “If he doesn’t it’s not fair!” Alright, now how does Jesus deal with this?
“And Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me.’” What’s he saying there? I think he’s saying that it is real dangerous to compare circumstances. It is real dangerous to compare gifts. Jesus is saying here, “Look, don’t get all involved in comparing yourself with this other disciple. What I have for him, I have for him. Here is what I have for you: me. Is that enough?”
And that is the solution to envy. Just like it was the solution to lust. It’s Jesus. “Follow me. If you’re behind me, if you’ve got me, what do you need to worry about him for?” And so that’s the answer: we just need more of Jesus. We need to realize what an incredible privilege it is to just know Jesus. Jesus said in another place, “Don’t rejoice over this, that the demons are subject to you. Rejoice that your names are just written in Heaven.” It is such a staggering privilege to be a disciple of Jesus Christ that what becomes of other disciples is neither here nor there. And so envy flies away.

John Piper

Read Psalm 37 and consider how God causes the plans of the wicked to fail and provides deliverance for his people. If you know the truth about these things, for what reason do you envy sinners for their short-lived pleasures? How can you grow in greater wisdom by being generous with what you have and trusting God for deliverance?

Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise by Walter Chalmers Smith

Posted on: July 12, 2018 - 10:00PM

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