We all struggle with envy at times I think. Sometimes it's as small as simply dwelling on what others have and you don't or how their life appears to be in comparison to yours or sometimes it's as serious as hating someone or avoiding someone because of their happiness or wealth.
Our envy usually has a lot of... 'If only. . . I wish that I. . . I want. . ." You can fill in the blank.
In a very imperfect world, we all seek perfection. We come up with a set of 'ideal' plans, jobs, homes and lifestyles that seem to be perfect to us, we tell ourselves that someday once we finally get it right, it will be perfect and a lot of the time our unrealistic list of ideals pours into our relationships and can shatter them to pieces.
We expect too much from life, people and from God.
Envy can cause a bitterness to build up inside of us and if it is not dealt with immediately , it will begin to infect the rest of us. Do not let yourself envy others. I hate to burst your bubble but you will NEVER have every single thing you want, and if you don't deal with envy right away, it will grow bigger and bigger and it will keep coming back... you will always want something you do not have. It's a vicious circle and will make your life absolutely miserable. Learn to be content with what you have been given, learn to make the most out of what you have and be happy for those who have wonderful things :)
"Better is open rebuke than hidden love." (V5)
I talked before about when you love someone, you should be pointing out the things in their life that aren't what they should be... habits, words they speak, lifestyle, choices they make, etc. We should be building each other up. To do that successfully, it requires the 'not so good' stuff to fall away or to be kicked out of our lives first.
To love passionately means to really be involved. To be a part in helping them be a better them, guiding them with wisdom and biblical truth when they need it. Keeping your mouth shut when it comes to something they shouldn't be doing is going to cause more destruction than we realize.
It's so important to confront issues and not sit back and stay hidden and silent because it's easier. Sometimes friends hurt us, spouses hurt us but often it is because they are trying to help us with an area in our life. It comes from genuine love and their input (that we don't always want to hear) is to help us in the long run, help us improve. Their intentions are good. But enemies use their lips (words) to manipulate people to do what they want, how they want it or for some other hidden, deceitful reason.
Beware, and again, guard your heart.
Our eyes can deceive us. What someone appears to be on the inside and outside may be completely different to who they truly are on the inside, so take time to really get to the core of who they are, be wise in what you tell them and choose wisely who you let close to you.
"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from earnest counsel." (V9)
I love that! "Pleasantness of one's friend springs from earnest counsel."
Honest, sincere advice is vital to our friendships and relationships. This is why it is important to have few close friends who believe and live out the same morals as you and share the same walk with God as you do.
Proverbs talks a lot about listening to wise counsel and turning away from fools because the advice we hear has the power to change us and the direction we were heading. Words are powerful tools!
Make sure you have some friends that you can trust wholeheartedly, come to in frustration who will encourage you for the good, love you and point out the problems when they need to be brought up... ultimately someone who reminds you of God's direction for your life!
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (V17) We see here that friends should choose friends of the same or stronger moral stature. We can't be built up and pushed to do better by a lazy fool who has no care or concern for his actions and lifestyle. We can be built up, pushed and encouraged by someone who believes in us and in God's direction. Someone who pursues our friendship and pursues God.
Having a good friend there to help you grow will build your character and there is nothing better than having that friend who will give you wise advice, encouragement and help you with discernment.
"As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man." (V19)
The heart is the wellspring of life, everything flows from it. The choices we make, people we spend our time with, things we support, things we encourage or do not encourage... they all lead to the heart.
Sometimes people's actions may seem right, but their heart can be full of deceit. What is truly in the heart will eventually come to light and our heart is never hidden from God.