Instead of being regretful, we need to be grateful. Instead of complaining, we need to remember that everything is a gift from God.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:7-8, "For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? Now you are full, now you are rich; you have begun reigning as kings without us, and I wish to God you reigned, so that we also might reign with you" (MEV).
Envy always asks, "Why them?" "Why does he have better health?" "Why does she have a job and a husband, and I have neither?"
Gratitude says, "Why me?" "Why do I get to drink clean water when so much of the world doesn't?" "Why am I not under persecution? Why am I not thrown into prison for my faith?"
Envy is based on the myth that you must have more in order to be happier. It's just not true. Happiness is a choice. If you're not happy now, you're not going to be happy with more. I could give many testimonies of people who have a lot more than you, and it doesn't make them happier. You are as happy as you choose to be.
Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, "Better to be content with the sight of eyes than to have a wandering appetite. This is vanity and like chasing the wind" (MEV). This is called contentment. All of us need to learn contentment.
Why? Because by nature you are not a contented person. None of us are! It is not natural to be contented. It is mature to be contented. Babies are discontented. Unless everything is going their way, they're not satisfied. Maturity is learning to be content when things are not going your way. It's better to be satisfied with what you have than to always want something more.
Let me clarify: Envy is not desire. Desire is good. Envy is not ambition. Ambition is good. You ought to be ambitious and work for good things in your life. Envy is not a dream. You ought to have a dream in your life. Envy is not setting goals. Dreams, ambitions, goals and desires are all things that God puts in you.
Envy is resenting other people who have something already and thinking that you can't be happy until you get it, too. Both of those are lies. Instead, learn to be grateful for who you are and what you have. Everything you have is a gift from God!
Talk It Over
- What is something you can do today to practice gratitude?
- When you're tempted to resent someone because of what that person has or is, how can you turn it into gratitude? What should you say to that person?
- Why do you think God makes happiness a choice?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastorrick.com.