Let Not Thine Heart Envy Sinners Prov. 23:17 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Christians often tend to envy sinners. Don’t envy sinners. Follow what Solomon said, “Let not thine heart envy sinners.” The problem starts down in your heart. You see sinners enjoying something that you want to do, but can’t do, because you are a Christian. Then you envy them because they enjoy the things you want but can’t have. If your heart envies them, then your actions are sure to follow. Therefore, don’t envy sinners.
Don’t envy their popularity – Jas 4:4 – they seem to have all the popular friends. They are the cool people on campus. They are the in-crowd in the company. In other words, if you are in with them then you are looked up to by others as “somebody.” Christians by and large are not popular with the world. Jesus wasn’t, Paul wasn’t, and you won’t be either. When you try to be popular because you envy sinners, then you are going to fall out of favor with God. You need to remember that the people you are trying to impress and all their friends are the enemies of God. And being on God’s bad side is a whole lot worse than being on the outs with them. And being in favor with God is far and away better than being “in” with them. So, don’t envy sinners.
Don’t envy their partying – 1 Pet 4:3-5 – sinners laugh it up now. You see the beer ads on TV and think, “Man, they are having a time.” And for the moment they are. But they will mourn later [Ecc 7:4-6]. Your friends and the ad campaigns don’t show you the fights, the broken relationships, the horrible dysfunction, the liver disease, the mangled wrecks, and the misery. You are better off to hear a good rebuke from a wise friend than to hear the song of fools. The laughter of fools always turns to tears in the end; always! So, don’t envy sinners.
Don’t envy their promiscuity – Prov 30:20; Job 24:15; Heb 13:4 – men and women fornicating for pleasure without conscience or regard for God think they are just out having fun. Young people envy their liberty to be promiscuous. But you can’t be promiscuous without consequence. Think of the millions of unexpected pregnancies. Think of the venereal disease and sexually transmitted diseases; and those are just the consequential “reaping” of what you have sown. In addition to reaping, God will judge their promiscuity. Don’t be promiscuous. Wait till you’re married. The marriage bed is undefiled. So, don’t envy sinners.
Don’t envy their practices – 1 Cor 6:9-12 – they do wrong and seem to get away with it. They lie, cheat, steal, and cover-up. You name it and they do it. It’s easy for a Christian to think, “Well, if they can do it, why can’t I?” The truth is that they are not getting away with it and neither will you. There is so much peace in integrity. God is pleased and he blesses us when we walk in righteousness. This blessing and peace is something sinners know nothing about. When you envy their liberty to sin you never take into consideration the consequences that you face when you are caught. And you forget about the judgment of God you face when you are judged. So, don’t envy sinners.
Don’t envy their prosperity – Prov 1:32 – their wealth and enjoyment of their wealth entices you. You would like to be able to afford their cars, take their vacations, fly in their planes, own their boats, live in their mansions, and so forth. But look beyond the time of their prosperity. See Ps 73:3-17. Consider their end. Riches profit not in the day of wrath. Riches certainly make themselves wings and fly away. You are so much wealthier than they are. You have “durable riches” which you and I will enjoy forever [Prov 8:18]. So, don’t envy sinners.
Don’t envy their pride – Prov 16:18 – they talk so big. They walk with an air of arrogance and self-assurance. They are men and women of the world. They are in the know. They reign in their little kingdoms. And you want so badly to be like them, you think. You would be far better off to humble yourself before God in the fear of God and be content with who you are in Christ. God will bring the proud low and you don’t want him to cut your legs out from under you when he does!! So, don’t envy sinners.
Conclusion: when you envy sinners you cause your heart to despise the blessings you have as a Christian. You long for the liberty that you think sinners have. Their liberty only appears to be liberty. In fact, they are in bondage and they are servants of corruption [2 Pet 2:18-20]. You have so much more than they do and don’t realize it because you don’t have what they have. Your affections are set on what they have down here rather than on what we have above. Don’t envy sinners. Rejoice, instead, in Christ. He will brighten your day!