“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs…” – Isaiah 58:11a
Grandpa took us to get ice cream. I was fine, even joyful until I looked over and noticed that my cousin’s two scoop ice cream sundae was much much larger than mine. Did I say MUCH larger? Like a whole half gallon larger! I looked back at my skimpy two scoop sundae and thought to myself, “I was robbed. Jipped. No fair. Come on. I deserve the same.” Envious. Jealous. A little resentful. (Did you notice?) I had become so negatively fixated on what they had and what I didn’t have that I was completely unable to just enjoy and be thankful for what I had. We’ve never experienced this, have we? Oh yeah. We sure have. In fact, as adults it is much worse isn’t it? Yep. Admit it everyone!
Enter envy. The insatiable, excessive, misdirected and self-destructive desire for what others have. Especially this time of year. Their status, job, position, possessions, vehicle(s), home(s), family, spouse, their very life. “If I can’t have it, they can’t either. In fact, I’ll take it-watch me!” Envy is a poison that if allowed and not kept in check, leaves family members, friends, loved ones and even ourselves in a destructive wake. As Job 5:2 says, “Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” It certainly does. In fact, Joseph Epstein writes, “Psychologists found that envy decreases life satisfaction and depresses…the hostility it breeds may actually make us sick.” Paul David Tripp adds, “When envy rules our heart, the love of God doesn’t…when our heart is ruled by envy, the attitude of ‘I am blessed’ is replaced with ‘I deserve.'”
Enter envy. We’re dissatisfied. Comparative. Discontent. Lustful. Prideful. Selfish. Feeling insignificant. Full of self-pity, self-dislike and self-disdain. Our sense of worth is displaced and errantly derived from what we have, don’t have, must have or worse, must take from others. In envious fashion, we state, “If I only had ________, then I’d be happy. If I only had what THEY have, then….” It is for this very reason that 1 Peter 2:1-3 commands us as followers of Jesus to, “…rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Notice the key movement here in this verse. It’s not what we possess but WHO possesses us that satisfies and brings true contentment. Is it Jesus? Does HE possess us-truly? If so, we will echo Paul’s words and way of life found in Philippians 4:12b-13, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Jesus who gives me strength.”
Friends, no person, place or thing this side of heaven will ever – will ever satisfy our deep need to fill our God shaped void within our heart. They will – it will never be enough. Only Jesus satisfies. Only a relationship with our God satisfies and brings contentment – truly. So when envy attempts to poison, will we lean into who God is, who Jesus-the Christ-Child is and in turn, who we are in Christ. He defines. He completes. He fulfills. He alone satisfies. As Isaiah 58:11 says, “The LORD will guide lyou always; he will satisfy your needs…” When envy poisons let’s redirect. Let’s be mindful of and grateful for what we have. Let’s be kind to and supportive of others. Let’s be generous with and selfless by sharing what God has blessed with. Let’s be focused on God and others. Let’s be defined by God and abide in His presence. Let’s be content with and satisfied by God alone. He alone satisfies. Truly. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:33a, “Seek first the kingdom of God…” Are we? Be honest. If so, we will find true contentment and satifaction in Him alone.
There’s a song by a Christian group ‘Rivers and Robots’ entitled ‘Satisfy’ that has captured my thoughts. In fact, I pray the lyrics frequently. “God safisfy…In Your presence there is fullness of joy…” So, right now-stop what we’re doing. Listen to this song. Focus on it’s lyrics straight out of scripture. Then pray them. “God, satisfy me!”
God bless you friends. He alone satisfies. See you this Sunday in person or online at 9:00 or 10:30 AM
Pastor Doug Reed