It was the master musician Kermit the frog who sang It’s Not Easy Being Green. It wasn’t a hit on the billboard charts. It wasn’t nominated for a Grammy. It was simply the musings of a puppet frog who, to be quite honest, seemed to struggle with bi-polar disorder. The song starts off with Kermit bemoaning the fact that being green is quite a hardship. He thinks about how it would be nicer to be red, or yellow, or gold or something much more colorful. Being green means you blend in with so many other things; therefore, people just pass right over you, which I find hard to believe. I can’t imagine anyone would overlook a frog playing the banjo and singing. But then Kermit changes his tune. The song concludes with an acceptance of who he is. Green is the color of spring. It can be cool and friendly-like. In the end, Kermit sings, “I am green and it’ll do just fine. It’s beautiful and I think it’s what I want to be.”
Although I doubt he intended to be, Kermit was rather theological in this song. His cathartic little hymn about the pros and cons of being green is very applicable to the sin of envy. We often hear the phrase, “Green with envy.” But being green with envy is not a beautiful thing. It’s not easy being green. Unfortunately, many people have come to grips with being green. Envy is not one of those sins we take too seriously. We often view envy and it’s first cousin, jealousy, as class C misdemeanor sins, if we view them as sins at all. The point that Kermit arrives at by the end of his song is the point we need to reach as well. We need to learn contentment; not with being green, but with what we have. Envy is the enemy of contentment. When we learn to be satisfied with what we have rather than being unhappy with what others have, then we combat the sin of envy.
ENVY is a sin with no redeeming qualities. There is nothing good about envy. There is nothing to justify its existence. With lust you may find some momentary pleasure. If you’re a glutton, you may enjoy a big meal. If you’re slothful, you may get plenty of rest, but there’s no reward with envy. It’s a self-mutilating sin. Because of envy, Cain murdered his brother Abel (1 Jn. 3:12). Because of envy, the Philistines stopped Isaac’s well (Gen. 26:12-15). Because of envy, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Gen. 37:11; Acts 7:9). Because of envy, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against Moses in the wilderness (Num. 16:1-3). Because of envy, the apostles were thrown into prison and persecuted (Acts 5:17). And because of envy, our Lord was handed over to be crucified (Matt. 27:18).
ENVY is a “pack sin.” It travels in a pack. It’s never found in isolation. Envy, jealousy, pride, gossip, and discontent, as well as many other negative behaviors, are related to or are a manifestation of envy. To separate pride from envy or envy from discontent or gossip from envy, or envy from anger, etc. is next to impossible. They’re all mixed together. They all come in one big batch.
ENVY is also a battle with God. If you are struggling with envy, your problem is not with another person. Your problem is with God. Envy is a lashing out at God. When we are envious we are essentially saying, “I am not satisfied with what the Lord has blessed me with. I cannot find contentment in God.” Envy is the adult version of a child getting angry because the other child has a toy he wants to play with, and so he takes it.
So here are some practical tips to help us avoid envy in our lives.
- STOP COMPARING. Kick comparisons to the curb. It seems that we’re constantly comparing ourselves with those around us. When we compare ourselves to others, it will either lead to pride or envy and both are condemned in scripture.
- STOP COMPLAINING. Complaining compounds envy. It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire.You can always find someone who is better off than you. You can probably always find a reason to complain. However, as a Christian, you always have reason to rejoice. You have redemption. You have hope. You have eternal life. You have the church; therefore, you are truly blessed. We can rejoice or we can resent. We can be bitter or we can be better. The choice is ours, but I think we all know what the only godly option is.
- STAY CONTENT. Envy robs one of happiness, but happiness comes from within. Get happy where you are. Find security and happiness in God, not stuff. Be content with what you have rather than envious about what you lack.
I hope you will join us this Sunday at Oldham Lane as we continue our series 7 Habits of Highly Defective Christians. Envy is one of those habits that we need to expose and overcome. See you Sunday!