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Almost Slipped!

July 1st, 2013

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalm 73:2-3

We can all relate to the honesty of the psalmist Asaph. Things had been going well for him in life and in service to God, but then an unwelcome temptation came and attached itself to his thoughts – he began to be jealous and envious of others, particularly those who were wicked and wealthy.

The two do not always go together – wealth and wickedness, that is. Most often they are separate, it seems. The wealthy are not normally wicked, though some are, and the wicked are not normally wealthy, though, and this is even rarer, some are. Most of the wicked have ruined themselves in more ways than one – physically, socially, mentally, career-wise, and financially. But the statistics were not what caught the attention of Asaph. Temptation rarely appeals to the odds that evil behavior will be more successful than righteous acts. Temptation happens when dark, illogical, immoral thoughts seep into our souls, clouding our minds, convincing us that bad is good, that God is absent, that selfishness will pay off in the end, and that we deserve what others have.

It was not in particular the wealth of the good people he knew that caught his attention – it was specifically some people who had become wealthy immorally and perhaps even illegally as well, and they were arrogant about it. Most of us can feel the annoyance their arrogance must have been to Asaph, because we have felt the same.

But envy itself opens up our lives to all the evils of the universe, and there was the danger. In the midst of being a good man, the little demon called “envy” threatened to destroy his life, and there was the potential in his jealousy for him to become a worse man than these “arrogant” people who were so wicked. In the wisdom of God Asaph realized it just in time, but he felt his close brush with spiritual danger and realized the danger of his soul. Have you ever almost gone to sleep while driving, found yourself nodding off and your car swerving into oncoming traffic, and then horns and screeching tires shock you into consciousness, allowing you to swerve out of danger just in time? Your heart was pounding and your mind computing the danger you just escaped, as well as the harm you could have done to innocent passengers of other cars, you thanked God and began lecturing yourself on driving more carefully. The spiritual side of this was what was going through Asaph’s mind.

Who are you envious of today? Where does jealousy and self-righteousness exist in your life? It is one thing to realize the immoral behavior of another. It is another thing to feel justified in judging them as though we ourselves are perfect, and to become jealous of their worldly success because they happened to get away with it. Our envy can make us worse than the people we judge. But envy does not stop with the wicked or the arrogant. It can target the honest, humble, and righteous who are must a bit more successful than we are.

Rid your soul of envy. Look to God and trust that He is enough for you. Commit your way to the Lord and let Him lead you into the future He has planned for you. Rejoice in all that He has provided and you will find that your life will be blessed beyond what you could have imagined. Do not worry or fret or be jealous over the seeming success of others. God is your God and He is enough!



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