Envy is a vicious and dangerous spiritual disease. Wise is the person who heeds the Scriptures’ plain counsel: “Do not let your heart envy sinners…Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them…Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the wicked” (Proverbs 23:17; 24:1, 19). The judgment of God is upon this work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) which is rottenness in the bones (Proverbs 14:30)
As described in Psalm 73, Asaph almost slipped into the abyss of envy (vv. 2-14). It was not until he went into the sanctuary of God and understood the end of the wicked (v. 17) that he purged his heart of his envy of the wicked. “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, so, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image” (Psalm 73:18-20).
In the final portion of Psalm 73, Asaph declares two lessons that he learned from his conflict with the green-eyed monster named envy. They are:
- Envy is foolish, because God is pre-eminently superior to mammon. “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel and afterward receive me to Whom have I in heaven but You. And, there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (vv. 21-26).
- Envy is a choice, a terribly wrong choice, to make. “For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God that I may declare all Your works” (vv. 27-28).
The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). This only occurs when we incorporate its divine counsel into our minds and lives.