“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

I am experiencing an inner peace as I sit at our cabin and watch the gentle flakes of snow drop softly through the air.  I cannot help but notice the beauty of the snow falling on the trees and on the frozen Pend Oreille river.  The snow flakes are at rest as they gently float through the air.  I notice the Canadian geese fly purposely through the flakes of snow and they seem to not have a care in the world.  The geese are enjoying a season of smooth flying but at any moment they may fly into a blizzard or a storm where they are blindsided by the wind and freezing cold temperatures.  Isn’t that the way our lives ebb and flow through life.   We are soaring, at peace with purpose, and then we are blind sided with a storm that shakes up our peaceful existence.  According to this verse in Proverbs we do not have to be blindsided just with an unexpected blow from the world.  Scripture tells us that our peace can be compromised by envy and jealousy.   Envy and jealousy rots the bones.  A heart of peace is disrupted by our own personal thoughts and discontentment.

A great example of our minds being contaminated by our thoughts, which can also play out in our actions, is written in James 4:1,2.  “What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill.  You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”   James is describing in verse 1 that our battles start within us.  “Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”  I ponder this sinful issue a lot because jealousy is my favorite sin.  If I am going to struggle with a sin more than any other it is the sin of jealousy.  Anybody looking at my life would beg to ask, “What does she need to be jealous about?”  And you are right... if you look at my life I have a wonderful life but the struggle comes from within.    My struggle of jealous thoughts start in the quiet places of my mind.  

Thankfully I have not killed anyone because of my jealous thoughts but there is an excellent example of jealousy played out to the point of trying to murder someone.  The person I am talking about is King Saul in the Old Testament.  He was jealous of David and it was to the point that he tried to murder David.  Saul’s jealousy started from a mind that was not at rest.  His heart became harder and harder and eventually his mind was consumed with killing David.  He had so much to be thankful for as he had a purpose in life, a wonderful son named Jonathon and he was a king of Israel.  His envy rotted his bones and he did not have a heart of peace.

I have not murdered but I have quarreled.  I have made assumptions or made stupid decisions because of my envious thoughts.  Envy has rotted my bones.  I have ruined days and weeks with inner turmoil because of my coveting.  I have lost the joy of having a heart at peace because of my favorite sin to be jealous.

Another great example of envy is I have two German Shepherd dogs.  The eight year old is Rufio and the two year old is Archer.  Archer loves to play fetch with the tennis ball.  There is no way that Rufio can keep up with Archer and so he is always lagging behind and is unable to retrieve the ball.  Archer always beats Rufio to the ball.   Rufio is jealous and the way his jealousy plays out is he blocks, knocks and attacks Archer so Archer cannot get the ball.  Rufio thinks that if  “I can’t get the ball neither will you.”  Rufio is a jealous dog and he quarrels and fights with Archer over the ball.

How do I sum all this up?  Thankfully, I have my Lord Jesus Christ that listens to my wrestling.   As I wrestle with jealousy and envy I find that honest and specific confession to the Lord is the first step to changing my mind.  I ask the Lord to give me his godly sorrow so I can feel the pain of the sin.  Step two is asking the Lord to help me to be thankful for what I do have whether they are good things or bad things.  Then I ask the Lord to set my mind on things that are pure and lovely.   Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  As I am thankful for all my circumstances I find that I can have a heart of peace.  As I am thankful I find I experience a freedom from envy and jealousy and so a heart of peace gives life to my body.