• Jason Wade


17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,

but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.

18 There is surely a future hope for you,

and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:17-18

Have you ever heard the term green with envy? It is one of those phrases that I have heard all throughout my life in tv shows and movies. I know that in my life I have definitely experienced envy when I was growing up and I really wanted to have something or do something that I could not do for whatever reason I couldn't do it. But the crazy thing is that envy begins to dig in and plant roots into our souls that can definite cause trouble later down the road. For me, I believe that envy is similar to kudzu... yeah that crazy fine that can grow up to 6 feet in a day in the right conditions. While living in Jones County, I was amazed at how the kudzu would take over everything that it connected to... trees, buildings, fences, and within a month it was completely covered. Living now in Savannah, I can see the same scenario with the moss. I mean where does it come from right... but all of a sudden everything that is taller than 10 feet seems to have something that is attached to it and the moss begins to grow and fed off the host. I know that might be a crazy picture as it refers to the idea of envy, but I do believe that there is something to this snag that satan created to cause us to doubt who we are and the significance of just how unique we were gifted and created. It is so much easier to look and see what every one else has and forget just how blessed we have been by God.

On the flip side of this debate today is the word HOPE. Even though there is a very fine line between the two words of envy and hope, hope is a word that gives us a yearning and encouragement for is to come. It allows us to step back and recognize that we may not

receive everything that we want, but we are able to push forward in faith with a desire to succeed. Hope allows us to have this moment of expectation through anticipation and preparation. It is not something that we cannot attain, it just means that we are ok to work hard and wait patiently as we see HOPE come to fruition. Hope continues to fuel our hearts, minds and souls in such a way that we wake up every day with a yearning to see how God is

revealing the next part of the story. We do not worry about what the others may have, but we have this innate desire to grow in the times where we struggle because that is part of the process that is need for perseverance to give us the final picture. And once we are able to attain that goal, we are able to truly recognize the strength that was gained through the struggles of the journey. HOPE is an amazing tool that is ingrained in our hearts to help us see beyond the boundaries that have been established by the world and allows us to grow in our obedience and depended on God.

As we look into the words that Solomon is teaching us today, we see that Solomon has recognized the desire of envy that surrounds the people around him. He is beginning to see that there is frustrations and plotting going on in order that other may attain the status or the same position of others. Solomon is also able to recognize the stress that envy is causing to the relationships of those in his kingdom. Anger and strife are being experienced more than peace and joy. Even though they are not in a time of war, it seems as though prosperity has turned many of their hearts against one another and where there is discord... there is the possibility of destruction. In our lesson on wisdom, we see that Solomon is encoring us to be careful of our lifestyles. Make sure that we are not looking and saying man I wish I could be like so and so and do what they are doing. Watching TV movies we see this theme all of the time. The "goody-goody" wants to be like the "rebel kids". If you don't know what I am talking about just go and watch the famous movie Grease and see how that story unfolds for Sandy and Danny. Now pause and let me tell you that I am not talking about separation of classes or how we cannot be friends with people who come from different backgrounds. All I am saying is that envy plays a huge role in the desire of our hearts to do things that we may should not do. Wisdom of this lesson is to know that we are able to understand the difference of right and wrong and we take a moment to spend time every praying for God's direction for our lives.

As we are now at the half-way mark through this journey through the teachings on wisdom, I pray that you have found the hope that Solomon has laid out for us to strive towards. It does not mean that we are not going to have desires, but it does mean that we are need to look to God to help us through this thing called life. There is a very fine line between hope and envy and many of us step across those lines every day as we look to the future and continue to question God who is going to happen next. All I am asking each of us to do is to take moment and realize our intentions. If we are trying to live a life outside our normal boundaries because we want to be like.... fill in the blank, then we must realize that envy may

be planning seeds and roots in our lives. Not he flip side, if we are able to recognize that God has a plan for us and even though it may not present itself tomorrow, we have a hope that God has a future in store for us that is filled with peace, joy and mercy. The battle continues each day of our lives and we may not realize that the battle may not be with us but with another member of the family. Just like the kudzu and the moss, envy just needs to find a place to get started and then it will feed off of the whole family. It will grow in such way that within a short time you will not be able to recognize the original family at all. God has something amazing planned for each of us and I pray that you will cling to the hope of HIS promise for your life. As I have said multiple times, if we are alive today, God has a plan for our lives and it has not yet been completed. Take hold of each day and recognize the battle between Hope and Envy. It is never easy to recognize but just to let you know... envy has green eyes. Have a great day and I am praying for the HOPE that is found in you!

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