There are just so many things I want. They are not bad things. In fact it’s all pretty normal stuff. But I look around and it seems like everyone else has them.
And that hurts.
I look around, and I think…
I want your house. It’s in the perfect location. Always clean. No chipped paint. So up to date and well-decorated.
I want your job. Your significance. My life of mundane tasks feels so infinitely unimportant.
I want your family. It seems so put together and cohesive. Mine is complicated and a lot of work.
And -I want your community. I have many life-long friends, but they are spread out on different continents and in different cities and in different circles. I’m feeling alone. For once, I want a crowd.
So here I am, filled with all these empty thoughts, and it’s beginning to feel a bit like Envy. Like, you don’t deserve all those things. And you think you’ve earned them. And, I’m not going to help you get even more.
“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (James 3:16)
Then I’m reading the Bible, and something really catches my eye. I’ve read it a dozen times or more…but this time a word jumps out.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk [of the Word], that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:1-3)
LONG. That’s the word I see.
Envy is a type of longing. Just the wrong kind.
So God directs me to a different kind of longing. He doesn’t just say, Stop! Or, Just be happy with what you’ve got. He says, Look over here….
Long for the Word.
I guess that is the Cure for envy. A different kind of longing.
Not for Knowledge. But for Nourishment.
Not for Cleverness. But for Closeness.
Longing for the Word.
And I think, that’s something. God could tell me to just long directly for Him…but he’s very practical. He tells me to long for the Word. It doesn’t take a lot of feeling to open a passage and start looking for the logic and start defining words. But somewhere in the process, something happens.
I’ve known that kind of longing before. When I first became a Christian, I couldn’t get enough of the Word. I carried a Bible with me everywhere. To my job. To my school. On the bus. Every passage was a page turner. Couldn’t wait to read more.
And, of course I still read my Bible every day.
But longing for it. I need to get back there. Because God says it’s the cure for envy. And I’m getting sick of Envy.
So I buy a Bible study guide, and it’s sitting by my bed. My daughter raises her eyebrows. Really, Mom? She knows it’s not my style. I’m more of a Bible study free-lancer. But I think I need a little more structure at the moment.
Now I wake up every morning with a little Start. I get to read.
The Bible’s a funny thing. It’s no dead letter. When I open it, there is this living dynamic going on. This interaction between heaven and my home. Like lights flashing. Only not.
And it fills my heart. With joy. With enough-ness.
And all the other stuff I want, starts getting lower on my list.
So …keep your clean and perfect house. And I hope you get even more. I really do!
Because, as it turns out, I’ve got Jesus.