The Sinkhole of Envy Part 2
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, He had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
Envy is that feeling that occurs when you want something someone else has. Another more thorough definition of envy is a resentful, dissatisfied longing for another person’s possessions, position, fortune, achievement, or success.
Most people are motivated to succeed because they envy their neighbors. But as the Bible says, that is meaningless like chasing the wind or being on a hamster wheel. When you compare yourself to someone else, there's always going to be someone that has more than you have or has what you think you want, and so it's a pursuit that never ends.
Let’s look at the damage that envy causes.
ENVY PRODUCES RESENTMENT
A faulty comparison creates envious resentment. In our passage, Abel's offering showed that he was a righteous man and that God approved his gifts. One gave by faith, which means we understand that one was without faith. However, Cain wanted the same results for his offering, even though his efforts were subpar.
Envy can blind you to what you need to do to get the desired results.
Sometimes people want what you have, but they're not willing to go through what you did to get it, and this was the problem with Cain. What's interesting to note is that Cain didn't want to give what Abel gave, but he didn't want Abel to get praise from God either.
ENVY RUPTURES RELATIONSHIPS
Who might you blame because of the unfair, faulty comparisons in your life? God warned Cain that unchecked envy allows sin to come in and take control. Cain envied his brother and allowed envy to take him down the road to murder.
SIN IMPACTS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Maybe you think you’d never kill anyone just because you’re envious of them, but have you ever “killed” someone with your words? Have you “killed” anyone with your poor treatment of them?
ENVY SWALLOWS US IN SELF-DECEPTION
Envy ruptures our relationships with others and, most especially, with God. Look at Genesis 4:9,
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?”
There are two things Cain did there. It was his second opportunity to correct himself and ask forgiveness; instead, he descended into deception in the face of God Himself. There is no sense in lying to an all-knowing God.
Any question that God has for you, He already knows the answer. He's wanting to see if you can confess your sins and make it right. So first, Cain lied to God, and the second thing he did, instead of answering the question, was he deflected.
ENVY HAS CONSEQUENCES
And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
Cain was in an area that could have made him prosperous, but was now cursed. He was a tiller of land, and because of his unfair treatment toward his brother, the land would no longer be prosperous for him.
GOD’S REDEMPTIVE RESPONSE
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, You have driven me today away from the ground, and from Your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.
Aren’t you glad we serve a God that loves us despite our downfalls? Just look at His response to Cain, who had murdered his brother, in verses 13-15. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t give us what we truly deserve?
God loves us and wants to redeem us from the mess we put ourselves in.
Envy causes us to compare something God had not intended for us to something that someone else has.The core of envy is comparison, and here's the problem with envy: It's like telling God that He doesn’t know how to give you what you need because you want the gift another person has. But, no, God knew exactly what He was doing when He created you.
Your problem is that you keep looking at others, trying to get what they have instead of concentrating on what God has given you. Envy robs you of enjoying what God has gifted you with and who God has called you to be.
Appreciate what God has given you and cultivate the gift that He has given you instead of putting all your energy into trying to be a second-hand imitation of someone else. Instead, become a primary imitation of who God called you to be.
God has gifted that person you envy for whatever assignment they have, and He has gifted you with your gift. We all have our assignments, and when you’re out of place, you’re affecting the whole body of Christ. You'll never experience joy trying to be someone else. Be who God has called you to be.
He has called you, wants to groom you, and wants to teach you something. The problem with envy is that we want someone else's blessing, and God didn't call us to have that. So, it's either that we're asking for what somebody else's has or we're asking for it and it’s not our timing.
We’re not just “some body.” We are God’s body. We don’t own ourselves. We belong to God. When you understand who you are, you don't have time to be envious of somebody else.
We are God's handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us.
Don’t be a cheap imitation of someone else. Be who God has called you to be. Celebrate who you are, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
God has a design and plan for each of us. He’s called you, and He’s gifted you. Take heart!