Tag Archive: Envy



“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:3

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"The Confusion of Tongues," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

In my earlier post concerning 2 Corinthians 10:7 entitled, “On Proper Pride and Humility,” I discussed a little about the relative aspects of pride and a few ways one can avoid this particular sin in their life. Yet, I feel some added clarification is required, that we may gain a deeper understanding of this sin, in order that it might be identified. Pride has great ability at concealing itself in ones life, by defining it with more clarity, we may illuminate it.

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Pride at its very core is a lie and deceitful. To have pride in oneself, is to take those attributes one has been granted by God and embellish upon them so they become more than they are. As Paul urges, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” This in essence it what pride is, to think of oneself more highly than you should, or to think about a particular attribute more than you should.

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Therefore, if you stand in front of a mirror and suck it in and flex periodically, as I have been known to do, you are exercising that pride. Also, if you are a big, “Rock Band” fan and picture yourself in your minds eye playing in front of a crowd of screaming women, or men, this is also prideful. Do not use your mind and heart to exalt and exaggerate the self, for to do so is incredibly sinful. In addition, because you will fall short in this elaboration, this can lead to extreme depression, when one doesn’t match up to the conception offered up by the sinful mind.

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In atheism, a popular argument against God’s being, is that if He existed or exists than He is an extremely prideful being. Yet, when we take Paul’s definition, we find this not to be the case at all. God knows exactly who He is and cannot be anything different. Furthermore, because he is the thing-above-which-no-greater-can-be-thought, as defined perfectly in St. Anselm of Canterbury’s Ontological Argument, He is perfectly worthy of worship. In fact, due to God’s knowledge of exactly what He is, this is humility.

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"Sistine Chapel Ceiling (detail)," by Michelangelo. fresco, c. 1508-1512

Paul continues saying, “think of yourself in sober judgment.” This is what humility is when it is in, “accordance with the faith God has distributed.” This being the case then it negates the idea of God being a prideful, and thereby sinful deity. God cannot deceive Himself, for this would present an irreconcilable contradiction, for He would have to imagine Himself greater than He is, which is an impossibility when one applies the definition of God offered by Anselm.

This verse suggests something which may give some insight into what human nature consists of. We are told, again, to think of ourselves in sober judgment in accordance with our faith in Christ. Thereby, since faith plays such a roll in the sober judgement of self, the question arises if we can have any victory against pride away from Christ? I would argue we can’t for the world is based on the self and the flesh. This sin of pride is the very same that drove Adam and Eve from the Garden. In a world where even good actions are self serving and motivated by the self, this doesn’t seem like a complete absurdity.

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"Adam and Eve Expelled," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

To be in accordance with one’s faith, we need to realize that we are indeed imperfect and sinful. This is how Paul had such a lowly conception of himself without sinning. Paul realized how much of a sinner he was and how unworthy he was to both serve God, and be offered grace through Jesus Christ. Paul was completely humble in that he knew what he was and worked for God to serve all man and almost singlehandedly brought about the New Israel among the Gentiles.

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Remember to use discernment and do not elaborately adorn yourself with things like makeup, clothing (but please do wear clothes), jewelry, and anything that you use to magnify your being. This goes for both men and women. Yet, at the same time, we do not need to look like we just crawled out of a gutter whenever we go out in public, but we should use, “sober judgement in accordance with the faith.” Do not attempt to hide the beauty of being that goes beyond mere appearances, but be modest. God has granted you many things and because God is perfect, they are perfect. Do not magnify it by means of worldly things to either please the self or others, for this is a stumbling block to both, and sinful.

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Finally, God has distributed the Spirit to all those in the faith. I can’t address every context and every situation, for such wisdom and omniscience belongs to God alone. Pray to the Lord that He may reveal you by the Spirit of Truth, if such sin is present, and to what degree. Pray that He would help and instruct you how to walk that thin line between both pride and envy, that you may see yourself for who you are, a precious child of the Most High.

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“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips . . .” -Romans 1:29

This verse through the end of the chapter gives us some traits that become apparent in a life without God. Though it is certainly true in a life without God a person may become so corrupt that he may embody all these attributes, but rarely does that occur. Yet, this doesn’t take anything away from these verses for, while reading through the list, you may read, like I have, things you have been, or are, guilty of.

Realize then, these things are manifestations of a mind distracted from God, sometime explicitly willingly and sometimes not. Galatians 5:22 tells us the antithesis, what attributes are within a being when they are walking with God. Both Galatians 5:22 as well as the end of Romans should be reflected upon often to see where you need to be stronger, and where you are walking with the Lord and thus give thanks and rejoice, for the Lord is with you. Lastly always remember to take note of your growths and what challenges still lie before you, for the Lord doesn’t only want us to reflect on our trials, but also our victories in Him.


“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” -John 15:15


I recall coming across this verse not too long after first becoming a Christian. When I read it, it touched me greatly because I had been in prayer and was consistently praying for a friendship with God, but didn’t even know at the time if it was biblical or not. It may seem odd, but as my eyes ran along the beautiful words I started weeping there at my table at the local Starbucks over my newly acquired leather-bound NIV translation and my rapidly cooling vanilla latte.


The thing was that I had heard many of the titles our relationship with the Lord is commonly referred to. These included, of course, much of the immediate family designations, as well as those that symbolize authority over those who are subservient. Yet, as far as I could recall, I never heard of a “friendship” between us and Christ.

In my life I hold my friends to high esteem, and as my relationship with the Lord grew, so did the desire to, not only call Him my savior, but my Friend as well. It seemed rather silly, but to me somehow extremely important. Thus, when I ran across, or was lead to this verse, it seemed deeply personal as if the Lord was indeed acknowledging that we were indeed friends.

As touched as I was at that moment, another thought came into my mind. It hadn’t been long since I was out of the party scene and I had the distinct image of me strolling through one of those sinful shindigs. I was walking around socializing and I recalled or was shown some of us conversing about some non-present individual that we hold to high regard for one reason or another.


I immediately saw how silly it was. We have the most arbitrary reasons for holding people to high esteem. We even at times envy those who are more indulgent in sin than we are! Other times we envy people for ridiculous things like popularity or fame.


Fame is a weird one. We have the odd desire to attach ourselves to famous people. If you were at a get together, and I don’t include everyone who is reading this mind you, and you happen to be a friend of one of the Kardashian’s, you would probably not hesitate to bring it up in every possible conversation you can, for it somehow fulfills your pride, or gives you the sense of having more self worth.


Why can’t we do that when it comes to Christ? We should be looking at every conversation as an opportunity to tell people we are friends with Jesus.


– “Hey, you know that Jesus Christ guy?”

– “Uh, yeah.”

– “Dude, I am great friends with Him!”

– “What? Really? You know Jesus?”

– “Absolutely!”

– “Well, come on. What’s He like?”

. . . And so on and so forth.

For some reason we would have no issues bringing up the fact that we are friends with Snookie or saw her in a store once, but when it comes to Christ we clam up. Now I don’t know if God showed me these things in my minds eye or if it’s because I have an over active imagination. In either case, it serves to me as a conviction and as a reminder to how freely we should share Christ, which is the greatest, most famous person who lives to this day and offers us the greatest gift one could ever receive, that of eternal life. He should be a constant topic and we should boast loudly that we and Him are the greatest of friends.

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