It’s frustrating to see someone else get the things we want but aren’t getting in life. It’s even more infuriating when these people attain success by a means we can’t condone morally or spiritually. We show irritation at wrongdoing on the surface, but beneath it lies envy. We may feel that if we weren’t following God, we could get the same prosperity they have! We want the money, the marriage, the promotion, the respect.
In this Psalm, David provides wisdom for wrestling with comparison and envy towards prospering non-believers. He reminds us that the achievements or material goods of those we envy won’t last. “They will soon fade away like the grass,” David says. Then he gives four commands: Trust in God. Delight in God. Commit yourself to God. And rest in God.
Let’s first take the command to trust in God. When we trust God, we don’t have to take it into our hands to bring justice upon the person living immorally. There is no need to waste energy fretting about how they live their lives. We also don’t have to prove ourselves as right or better. We trust that God is the judge, and one day He will bring everything into the light.
The next command is to delight in God, and the result is that he will give us the desires of our hearts. If our delight is in Christ, then our desires will increasingly align with his. We will desire to be close to Him and to be more like Him, and these things God has promised to give us. When we delight in Christ, envy for the things of this world diminishes because we have Christ, and He is better.
The third command is to commit your way to the Lord. This means we continue to obey God, trusting in his promised inheritance to his sons and daughters. We continue to believe that we will one day inherit eternal life and live forever in perfect peace and joy. This future reality puts our envy in perspective.
The fourth command is to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Rest may feel like inaction, but it is actually an active surrender of our desires and an active trust in God. Rest in God is the place where the grip of envy loses its strength.
PRAY: God, it is difficult for me to see the success of people not walking with you. I can be envious of their success in life. I often want it for myself. Help me to trust your promise that You are in control of my circumstances. Help me to trust that I will get exactly what you promise to your children – eternity with You in Your kingdom. Help me to delight in you. Help me to actively rest in your control and in your promises. Thank you for the free gift of grace and love that I did not deserve. Amen.
REFLECT:Think about a person in your life right now who you often compare yourself to. Is there anything that this person has that you envy, or wish you had? What would it look like to surrender this to God?