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Life’s Too Short To Be Envious

MESSAGE TRANSCRIPTION: 

Well. Good morning, everyone. How’s your right doing today? Oh, it’s great. It’s good to see you. I am Virgil Grant. I am one of the leaders around here. I’m also the Senior Pastor. We’re led by a multitude of people. And so grateful for all of our leaders. And as has already been mentioned, we are finishing up a sermon series today called Life’s Too Short. And we’re going to finish up the sermon series by talking about a particular topic that if I were to list 100 topics on a whiteboard, none of you would pick probably in the top 25, or at least not in the top 50. 

But today, I want to talk to you about envy and how envy is a primary sin in and throughout Scripture that we often don’t talk about. Shakespeare called envy the green sickness. Say that with me. “Green sickness.” Now, if you think about that, John, you know, you kind of get an upset stomach, get nauseated. Somebody look at you and go, “Well, John, you look a little green, right?” I went deep sea fishing many years ago with my grandfather, Papa Paul. We went out, and there the waters were very, very choppy. The time we got out half a day, drive out to the deep sea to go fishing. I was sick, curled up, and he said, “Son, you don’t look too good. You look sick. You look green.” And envy is a sickness, is a disease, is a sin in our culture that we live in. And the Bible says that envy is a sin. And he mentions it time and time again. 

We talk about envy in different ways. We go, well, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and that is another form of envy. And in fact, here’s how I would describe envy for you. It’s “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” Now, here’s what I want you do. I want you to read this with me because throughout the sermon. Okay, we’re going to say this, and I say we will say this. It’s together. Okay. It’s envy is “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi, ugly.” 

And when God says something is ugly, it is ugly! Now you think about envy as being ugly and think about it being is a sin. Well, other sins in Scripture is actually starts out pretty fun. You know, you think about pride. You think about, you know, the ego that you have. Well, that starts out there’s some adrenalin flowing from that. I’m more superior than you. I mean, it just feels good. You think about anger, “I’m going to dominate you. I’m your boss. I’m in charge. I’m going to one-up you.” But when it comes to envy my friends, it is “U-G-L-Y–” Why we say it together? What is it about together that you don’t recognize? It’s not Virgil. It’s together. So envy is nothing but “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. Ugly.” 

Now, you may say, Well, I don’t really believe you, Pastor. That envy is really a sin. I really don’t think it’s really that bad. Well, I want to show you the running buddies of envy. Now, we don’t think once again, every one even make the list of the top 50 sins that we would struggle with. And but life is too short to be envious of other people, and it has some running buddies. And I want you to look with me at Galatians Chapter 5, and we’re going to be really verses 19-21. And I want you to look at the running mates of envy. Now, notice what it says “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious.” So here is how sin is manifest. Here’s how we recognize sin, “sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery. Idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions.” If I want to give a testimony yet. Okay. Anybody convicted yet? And what does it say? “And envy.” Envy is listed with “drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” 

Next slide. “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” When you look at the running buddies of envy and the list in which envy occurs, it’s a pretty nasty. List. Now, some of you going back. “But Pastor, what is envy?” Well, envy is very simply being said over someone else’s successes. And being a fan of their failures. Being sad over when someone else excels in life and being a fan of their failures. 

Now, again, some of you said, but, “Pastor, I don’t think it’s really that serious.” Folks, listen to me. Life is too short to be envious. Life is too short to be eaten up with jealousy and everything that comes with it. Because why? It’s “U-G-L-Y? You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” Now, some of you are sitting there, and you’re going, Well, “Pastor, you know really what I think about envy… I don’t think it’s really that ugly. I think that you’re just trying to get all wound up about a topic that’s kind of hard to preach about.” 

No, folks, when God says it’s bad, it’s bad. Okay, God said it. Therefore it’s bad. Is it really that bad? You know, “Pastor, envy is really, you know, a motivator for me to set goals and objectives. It’s really helps me to be personally motivated when I compare myself to someone else. You know, Pastor, really, when you talk about envy, it’s just really a motivator for me to be successful.” And folks, listen to me, envy will mess you up. Envy will diminish the effectiveness of your life if you allow it. So here’s the question What happens when envy infiltrates our lives? If envy is that bad, then what will envy do to our lives? And I think we could probably list a hundred things this morning, but we don’t have time for that. 

So I decided to narrow it down to four things. There’s four things that will happen when envy infiltrates your life. 

Number one, envy will energize your insecurity. It’s that envy will energize insecurity. Now, you want to feel insecure in life? Just be envy. Let me just tell you what happened. Psychology Today did a study of 25,000 individuals who said that they had low self-esteem, and they was wondering what was the root cause, John, of all of the low self-esteem among these 25,000 participants in the study? And what they discovered? That the number one cause of the low self-esteem was the sin of envy. It was comparing themselves to other people. In other words, it was this, Derrick. It was this, that my identity, my security, my worth was defined by other people. And when my worth, my identity, my self-esteem is identified or defined by other people, I’m going to have a low self-worth. But when I allow my identity to be found in God, then I will have a healthy self-esteem. 

Now, some of you are saying, well, “Pastor, I really don’t deal with envy. I’m a very-I’m a person who doesn’t struggle with insecurity. I’m a person who doesn’t struggle with envy because I’m a secure person. I’m a person of confidence. I’m a woman of confidence.” Maybe some of you you’re saying, “Well, I’ve got my act together, independent, I’m a autonomous. I pull myself up by my own bootstraps.” But you know what we do as human beings? We have the ability to camouflage sin. We have an ability to diminish the impact of sin. So what we do with envy, we camouflage it with transitional phrases. What I mean by transitional phrases it’s the word, “But.” B-U-T. 

And every time that you say the word, but you know what you’re doing, you’re eliminate everything that you said before. “You know what? She has a great physique. But have you ever looked at her nails?” That’s what women know that they do. Have you ever looked at their nails? I mean, “You know what? She is a great mom, but her house is a pigsty.” I mean, we use these transitional phrases all the time. We say, “You know what? He’s a really great speaker. But you would never want to go on vacation with him and go fishing with him for a week because he’s horrible as a fisherman.” We use transitional phrases, but we also use this term that are made up. A lot of it’s really a term or not, but condescending comparisons. So we camouflage our sin of envy by using transitional phrases. But we have this condescending comparison. 

Several years ago. Don’t about you. I’m pretty good at this. I’m always good at condescending what other people are doing. It make a comparison that I’m doing. So a couple of years ago, there was a church member that had won a free trip to the Cayman Islands. You know, he came in the Me Monster. Me! “Look what I’ve done. It was a great vacation, Pastor. I won it in the competition. It was a completely free trip for me and my family. We took a boat ride one evening on the sunset as the sun was going down. And we had this fantastic meal, and we had servants, we had maids, and we had a pool guy with everything that you would want. The the the weather was impeccable. The weather was perfect. The food was fantastic. Everybody that we met was wonderful. I mean, Pastor, it was a trip of a lifetime.” 

And I’m going, “Well, I don’t really care about that. You know, we have a family home in Florida that we can go to any time that we want. You know, that was my condescending comparison of trying to, like, you know, try to say to this person, “That, you know, you cannot one-up me because I can do this any time that I want to.”

And folks, what we do is that envy will energize our insecurities that we have in life. The second let me just say this for you, that look at Proverbs 27:4, it says “anger is” what what does it say is “cruel and fury is overwhelming. But who can stand before jealousy?” No one. 

The second thing that envy would do, envy develops discontentment. Envy develops discontentment. In other words, we’re not content with their contents. I know that’s pretty good. We’re not content with the stuff that we have. And when I think about discontentment, I think about the story in Luke, Chapter 15. Anybody know the story in Luke Chapter 15. It’s the story that Jesus tells, and it’s oftentimes referred to as the Prodigal Son story. And whether you grew up in church, cutting your teeth on the pews, or whether you’ve never been to church before, almost everyone has heard of the story of the Prodigal Son. 

And let me just give you the Reader’s Digest version of the story of the Prodigal Son. Remember that this young son, maybe 16, maybe 17. We’re not really for sure of his age, but he wants his trust fund, and he goes and demands that his family gives him his trust fund. He’s living in a mansion. He takes his trust fund. He goes into a foreign country. And the Bible says he wasted his wealth on wild living. He came to the end of his rope there. He came down, didn’t have any money left. There’s a famine in the land. He thought to himself… He came to his senses. He goes, “My father’s slaves lives better than I do. My father’s servant lives better than I do.” And so he decided that he was going to go home. So he turns, and he goes home. When he arrives home, what is his dad doing? His dad is waiting for him with open arms, accepted him, welcome him back, readdressed him, gave him a brand new wardrobe, gave him the corporate credit card. He went to American Eagle or wherever and bought a brand-new wardrobe. And then his dad says, You know what? “My son, who was lost, has now come home. We need to have a pizza party for him.” And so he invited all of his friends over. And, plus, he gave his son a goat. Now, a big, big deal back in that day to receive a goat. (But maybe not today, but back then, it’s a big deal.) And so he has a pizza party. He invites all of his friends over. And they’re celebrating that this young man who was once lost is now found. He has come home. 

And that story is an awesome illustration of the grace and the forgiveness of God. That no matter how far you have gone, no matter how big of a sin you’ve committed, God waits for you, and He welcomes you home any time that you decide to come home. And for some of you, that is the entire reason why God brought you here this morning. You have drifted. You’ve been living in a foreign country. You’ve been living a wild lifestyle. And God has just been waiting for you to come home. God’s been waiting for you to say that I’m sorry. And God will extend to you his amazing grace and his unconditional forgiveness in your life, because he’s been waiting for you, and now he welcomes you home. 

And that is the story of the Prodigal Son. And we often time we would just end the story there. But there’s a subplot to the story. In every story, there’s always a subplot. And the subplot of this story is that the Prodigal Son had an older brother. Remember the older brother in the story? Remember, this is the older brother who was living in the father’s mansion, who had all the bling-bling, who was driving his dad’s BMW chariot. You know, he was having all of that. I mean, like he was doing all of that. He comes in from working from the fields. He comes in, he notices that there’s a celebration that’s going on. He notices that there’s empty pizza boxes. He sees the shopping bags from American Eagle. He gets all upset. He is full of envy. He becomes envious in the process because why? He could not celebrate with what his younger brother had done. He cannot celebrate the fact that he was once lost, and now he’s found and that he’s been given the goat. And the older brother goes, I’ve worked my entire life, and I’ve never received a goat in my entire life. 

Here’s how the Bible says it in Luke Chapter 15. “The older brother became angry and refused to go in.” So he sees the celebration. He sees the empty boxes and everything. “So his father went out and pleaded with him, but he answered his father. ‘Look, all these years I’ve been slaving, working for you and never disobeyed your orders.'” Now go back, Holly to that slide. He notices, “I’ve never disobeyed your orders.” Well, that was a lie. Because why is that? He had asked his son to come in. His son wouldn’t come in. And what did the father do? The father went outside to meet them because the father asked them to come into the house, but he wouldn’t. So he’s just he’s disillusioned in the whole process. Next slide, thank you, Holly. 

“‘Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours,'” not my brother, but this son of yours. Not my brother, “‘but this son of yours who has squandered your property'” with– not with the wild living. But what is the older brother say? With what? What does he say? With what? With prostitutes. You know why he says that? Because that’s the desires of his heart. That’s what he was wanting to spend his money on. So he puts that towards his younger brother “‘with prostitute, comes home, you kill the fatted calf for him.'” See, folks is that when you allow envy to take root in your life, it develops discontentment. It will eat your lunch every single time. 

So what is envy do? Number one, envy will energize insecurity. Number two, envy develops discontentment. 

And number three, envy silences my applause for others. It will cause me not to cheer for other people. The Bible is clear in the book of Corinthians. Is that, “We’re to weep with those who weep? We are to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.” But when envy creeps into our lives, we weep with those who are rejoicing. And we rejoice with those who are weeping. And see, folks. Envy will cause you and I to silence our applause for others. 

Now, I don’t know what you’re envious about, but I want you to hear me very clearly. Some of you, you’re envious of the fact that they talk that way, or they have that vocabulary, or they have that lifestyle, or they live in that home, or they have that car. Or they have those looks. That they have those good-looking children. When your envy of other people, whatever you’re envious of, can I tell you what you’re doing? You are trashing the grace and mercy of God because it is God who has given those individuals the gifts and the talents and the looks that they have. Now, let me just say that one more time. When you’re envious of whatever, you are trashing the grace and the mercy of God because God is the one who gave them what they have. 

I don’t know if you remember the story in the Old Testament about a king named Saul. And remember, Saul was a psycho. But Saul was a tall, handsome man. He was six foot six. He’s very articulate. He’s very well gifted. He was able to lead people. He had all these good looks. And he was the King of Israel. And remember that the Israelites was in a battle of their lives with the Philistines. And you remember that the Philistines at that time had a particular warrior named Goliath. And remember what Goliath would do? Goliath would come out to the hill side every morning, and he goes, “Is there any Israelite who would want to fight me? Well, meet in the valley. Winner takes all. The winner– The loser becomes their slaves. Becomes their slaves for a lifetime.” And morning after morning, Goliath would come out, and he would challenge any Israelite. 

And you remember at this time that Saul is not out on the hillside getting ready to go to battle with Goliath? He’s actually in his tent. And as he’s in his tent, trying to wonder how he’s going to win the battle, remember that there’s this hillbilly Hebrew named David, that shows up on the scene. 

And David shows up on the scene, and David goes, “Well, I’ll go fight that giant. You remember this Miss March. “I’ll go fight this giant.” 

And King Saul goes, “No, you will not!” 

And David says, “Yes, I will.” 

And King Saul goes, “Well, if you don’t go through this giant, then you to put my body armor. You’re going to put my armor on.” But David was a short guy, King Saul was a tall guy. 

David puts it on, he goes, “This is not going to work. This is made for you, not for me. I’ve got this covered because I’m going in the strength and the power of God.” And he takes his slingshot, reached down, grab some stones. Put them in his pouch. He goes out into the valley. He meets with Goliath. And with one single shot, the only place that he could kill Goliath was right in the forehead. And David slays Goliath. Remember the story, right? 

And then what happens is, is that the nation of Israel is having a celebration. David is leading the army, leading the celebration back into J-Town… That’s Jerusalem, just stay with me, Okay? He’s bringing them back into J-Town, back into Jerusalem. And then, as the people are gathering in the streets for the victory march, here’s what they start shouting out, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David has killed his tens of thousand. Saul has killed his thousands. But David has killed his tens of thousands.” 

And then first Samuel. Look what it says about Saul. Saul has gone ballistic. And from that time on, Saul kept a close eye on David, and Saul revealed to David and to the world that he had in the in his heart. And what have we said about envy? Envy is what, “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” And that is what King Saul reveals, that his heart is full of envy. 

And envy is the great leveler of all things. 

And the fourth thing is very graphic. Envy, guts the grace of God. Envy, guts the grace of God. Now, let me tell you a story about this. We don’t have time to go to it. I wish we could go in readable. Mathew, Chapter 20. And Jesus tells the parable. He tells a story. And there’s this farmer who needed some work done in the fields. So he came into the town square early that morning, like at 5:30. He got there early. There’s a couple of guys that shows up. He goes, Hey, you want to go work in the fields today? Absolutely. Okay. A day’s wage for your work. So he takes them out into the field, he gets them started. He needs a couple more hard hands. What does he do? He goes back to the town square. Remember the story at 9 a.m.? What does he do? He picks up a couple more workers. He takes them to the field. He gives them work in the field, gets him started. He needs some more. He goes back at 12:00. He goes back at 3:00. He goes back in 5:00. You remember the story. He’s got them working at 6:00. It’s time to quit. And he tells his accountant to pay the last workers who showed up at 5:00 and only work an hour. He says, Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to pay them the same wages that you pay everyone else that day. So the people who shows up at 5:00 works only one hour. They show up to the county window. They’re getting ready to get their pay, and they get a full day’s of pay. Now, if you had showed up at 6:00 that morning, what was going through your mind? If he gave a full days of wages to someone for an hour, what is he going to do for me? Who’s worked 12 hours? And the accountant gave everybody the same amount of money. And the people who showed up at 6 a.m. that morning, they go, this isn’t fair. I want to call my attorney. We’re going to settle this once and for all. And here’s what the owner of the land, here’s what the master of the story says in Matthew Chapter 20. “He says, ‘Hey, take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. I just want to do it. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my money?’”

And then he asked this question, and I think this is the question that God is asking us here today. And here’s the question. “Are you envious? Because I’m generous.” Here’s the question that God’s asking you and asking me Are we envious of God because he’s given other people more than He’s given us? Are we envious of God because he’s generous? Are we envy of God because he’s held out on us? That He’s shortchanged us? Are we mad at God because God hasn’t given us fully what we’ve asked for? And here’s the thing. You can be envious for a thousand reasons. It doesn’t matter what you’re envious about. But here’s the thing that you need to understand is that you cannot be envious of God’s generosity. 

Here’s how I look at it, John. You get a promotion at work. I am rejoicing. Brad, you get a promotion at work. You get a raise at work. I am rejoicing. You get a promotion at work? I’m rejoicing. You get a promotion. You get something. You know I’m happy. You know why? Because here’s the way I look, the Eastside is trying to reach in 10,000 people for Jesus. We’re trying to have 10,000 people to live the all life. You’re getting pay raises. That’s more money for us to reach more people for Jesus. It’s a win-win situation. My prayer is that everybody would get a promotion and raise over the next 30 days. I think it’s a great thing. I’m going to rejoice. I’m going to clap because I am for you. Because I am for large people. And I know that it takes God working through Christians to reach all the lost people in this community. 

And so, folks, listen to me. We cannot be envious of the fact of God’s generosity to other people. Now, here’s the thing about it is I want you to write this down. Now I want you to understand this. If you don’t write anything else down, I want you to write this down. When you’re envy, this is the reason why envy is “U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alib,i ugly.” Okay, here’s the reason why it’s ugly when you’re envy. You’re most like Satan. Let me say that again. When you’re envy, you’re most like Satan. 

Now, let me explain to you what I mean by that because some of you’re not going to believe me, and that’s okay. You remember that Satan was an angel in heaven. The Bible tells us that his name was Lucifer, which meant the star of the morning. Scripture tells us that Lucifer was the worship leader in heaven. He was leading worship. He was leading the cause. Holy, holy, holy. He saw all of the praise and glory that God was receiving. And he goes, You know what? I should be receiving all of the praise and glory. And he had attempt to take God out of his rightful place to overthrow the kingdom and for the for Lucifer himself to become the one in charge. It didn’t happen. God kicked him. And one-third of the angels out of heaven. And those. Then Lucifer became known as Satan. And Satanand his angels are the demonic forces that we fought against today. And the reason why envy is such a grievous sin is because when we act envy and we possess envy in our heart, we’re acting just like Satan. And this is the reason why God says it’s bad. It’s the reason why envy is “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alabi. Ugly.” 

It is ugly for that reason, my friends, you have to understand that envy has no place in the life of a Christian. Now, some of you are sitting there thinking, Well, Pastor, this has been a great sermon series until today, and it’s kind of a Debbie Downer. I mean, you’re like, you’ve beaten us up here. I mean, God, the Grace of God, discontentment, you know, insecurities. I mean, is there any hope? Is there any hope for us? And very quickly, let me just say to you that, “Yes, we can come clean over envy.” And how do we do that? What happens when we become clean, and we confess that we struggle with envy? Couple benefits. 

Number one, quickly, is that God will supersize your security. God will take your security, and he will supersize it. And He will manifest because you build your security in a vertical way, not a horizontal way. You understand what I’m saying? Horizontally, I’m going to be insecure. Vertically, I’m going to be completely secure. 

The second thing I want to say to you is that God will take your commitment, contentment to the next level. God will take your contentment to the next level. Here’s what it says in Philippians 4:11 “I have learned to be content. Whatever the circumstances,” God, whatever the stuff, whatever the circumstances I find myself in, I’m going to be content. And God says it this way that you and I are workmanship. That we are a master of his workmanship. It means that the word workmanship means poem. It means poetic. It means poetry. It means that we’re one of a kind. And do you understand that when God created you, he threw the mold away? You understand that your fingerprint is unique. Nobody else in the world has your fingerprint. You understand that your heartbeat is unique, and nobody else has the same heartbeat that you have. It’s that when God created you He made you wonderfully and faithfully in his image. And when you die and go to heaven, he’s not going to ask you. Why were you not more like Jennifer? Why were you not more like George? He’s going to ask you, and he’s going to ask me the question. Why were you not more of you? Because I created you for a specific time in the history of the world to fill a gap that existed in creation. Why were you not you? 

And the third thing, the third benefit is that God will amplify your applause of others when you come clean. You can start celebrating with one another. You can start rejoicing. CHEERING for everyone. Folks, I’m for you. I’m for Madison County. I’m for Central Kentucky. I’m for the good old U.S.A.. And for our world. I’m for you. Because you know why? Because when you win, we all win. You know what? And here’s what I believe. We, for people who are full of envy and who cannot applaud, applaud other people, it’s because you live with a scarcity mentality. I live with the abundant mentality that there’s no limit to the resources of God. 

And the final thing I would just say real quick is that God will build your blessings, is that, again, I said this last week. I said this week that God. You always know a mature believer by his or her attitude of gratitude. How thankful that they are because mature Christians are the most thankful Christians. Because why? They understand that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord. Folks, life is too short. To be filled with envy. Life is too short. To live you “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. Ugly lifestyle.” It’s time for us to encourage one another to applaud one another. To bless one another, to be for one another. 

So would you pray with me, Father, this morning? Thank you for your word. Thank you for calling sin, sin. And the father, whatever you call him. We have to agree with that. Whether we like it or not, because you’re the final authority. Not us, not the world, not society, not social media, the father. It is you and your word. The Bible is the Word of God. It is the truth. It is the plumb line by which we measure our lives. And, Father, there’s people today. Who’s been holding on to envy for a long time, not really knowing what to do with it. And Father, may they released that. May they come clean and have their security supersize. They would become content with their contentment. That they would just cheer for others and understand that every good and perfect gift comes from the father. Father, we pray and ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.