CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

April 1, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Envy #4: God Is Where You Are


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN STUDY: 7 DEADLY SINS

ENVY #4: GOD IS WHERE YOU ARE

MONTE W. HOLLAND

 INTRODUCTION

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

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THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

ENVY #4

GOD IS WHERE YOU ARE

SCRIPTURE: 4 that the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said: I had you taken from Jerusalem to Babylonia. Now I tell you 5 to settle there and build houses. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them.6 Get married and have children, then help your sons find wives and help your daughters find husbands, so they can have children as well. I want your numbers to grow, not to get smaller. 7 Pray for peace in Babylonia and work hard to make it prosperous. The more successful that nation is, the better off you will be. 7 Pray for peace in Babylonia and work hard to make it prosperous. The more successful that nation is, the better off you will be. (Jeremiah 29:4-7 (CEV))

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. (Job 5:2 (KJV))

26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26 (KJV)

DEVOTION:  There are lots of statements about fools: A fool and his money are soon parted; Fools walk in where angels fear to tread.

     Foolishness isn’t a prized possession. Why do we have April Fool’s Day? Maybe it was created in order to allow us to play stupid tricks on other people—or maybe so that we can laugh a little at the winter that is mostly behind us (unless we live in the Southern Hemisphere).

     Our primary scriptural text from Jeremiah doesn’t speak about fools, but is wise counsel for any who trust God. We consider the sin of envy today. We are reminded that our first tendency after being moved into a new place by job change, by change in family circumstances, by retirement, etc. is to be envious of those who are still in their familiar places. Our scripture reading reminds us that God has other plans for us when we move. The Israelites were told to pick up their usual activities in the new place with a purpose:  that the new community prosper—and as a result they would prosper also.

     Envy desires that we turn on our neighbor. The antithesis of envy, love, desires that we desire the best for our neighbor. Jesus was very explicit about being a neighbor in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The neighbor in that case showed mercy, even to a person of another ethnic heritage.

     Love your geographic neighbors. Work and pray for the their good. My wife often says that I have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.” I tend to forget the needs of family and friends far away. On the other hand our envy and hard feelings often get in the way of serving God in our communities.

     A few years back we moved into our new, unique community. Just like all communities there are needs and there are blessings. Change is difficult, but it has been a blessing. We have good neighbors. I have found my niche in serving on Borough Council and maintaining our gravel roads. Opportunities abound in life. We have a choice—to wallow in pity and envy of those with “better” lives, or to turn to God and be a part of making life “better” for all in the community  where God has placed us.

PRAYER:  Wherever we live, O God, you have a purpose for us. Help us to look forward and anticipate possibilities and live that the lives of our neighbors nearby may be enriched. Amen.

To read the previous devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Greed #4: Secretly Generous

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Anger#3: I Would Never Get That Angry, Would I?

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ADDITIONAL READING:

ARE YOU PUNISHING OR DISCIPLINING YOUR CHILD?

 Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: A Devotion

 Hope for Victims of Domestic Violence

 How to plan to escape from a domestic violence situation

 Why women stay in abusive relationships: Is this the right question?

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