Warning! Continuous scrolling on social media may cause soul damage.
Have you ever started your day by scrolling through social media while sipping coffee on the couch?
Checking out a few curated images on Instagram?
Reading personal opinions on Twitter?
Looking for recipes on Pinterest?
Checking out status updates on Facebook?
I may have a time or two or three or maybe more. But, typically, I walk away from these sessions feeling considerably deficient in my ability to “live my best life.” Social media is a fantastic tool that can be used in wonderful ways, but there is nothing quite like it to encourage envy.
In Psalm 73, the psalmist shares wisdom about the corrosive effect of envy on my relationship with God and others.
The dictionary defines envy, “to feel unhappiness over the good fortune of (someone) and desire the same good fortune: feel envy toward or because of, I envy you for your talent.” (Merriam-Webster)
How does envy affect my heart and soul?
It leads to:
What is the antidote for envy?
First, the psalmist lists in detail what is wrong with those he envies.
I really like this method myself as it creates comfortable distance.
Those people over there are wrong in every possible way. So even though I envy them, they are so much worse than me.
However, this does nothing to counteract envy effectively.
Judging those I envy continues to fill the well of deep and disturbing dissatisfaction with my life, and guilt hangs over me all day and night. Using this method is like using one sin to cover another. Holy Spirit conviction hounds me at every turn. This judging method fails me. So, what can I do?
To continue carrying envy in my heart will lead to exhaustion (vs 16). Moreover, the corrosive nature of envy affects my children and will be passed down as a toxic inheritance. This will keep me in a constant state of distraction away from what is giving me life.
Where should I focus most of my attention? Where can I go to find peace?
Finally, in desperation, the psalmist “went to the sanctuary of God.” In God’s presence, things become so much clearer. Waking up from envy is like putting down a heavy load I didn’t even realize I was carrying. However, I will need to do more to avoid picking the weight back up. The world pushes me every day to compare and contrast my life to what I believe I see around me through the lens of social media platforms. However, those images are highly curated and not accurately depict real life.
What does a person look like that has become consumed by envy?
The disaster is how envy affects my relationship with God. The psalmist readily admits he has become ignorant, brutish, and a beast. I know I have felt this way too. A low-key irritation mushrooms inside my heart and becomes a mine of bitterness. Just when I might feel utterly discouraged, God shares wisdom and an escape plan to find a way out of this trap. The following verses reveal how God responds to me when I seek to be near Him.
God offers me deliverance when I make Him my home. I can counteract the destructive force of comparison culture and envy by spending time with Him. He’s the only truly effective antidote. If I spent as many minutes in God’s word as I do scrolling social media, I would likely live in a state of awe and gratitude. God is always present with me if I only open my eyes to Him. He will provide trustworthy guidance and advice.
Sadly, I will fail (vs 26). However, God forgives and never leaves me. He is my accurate guide for life. The psalmist reminds me, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” When I focus on God’s promises to me, my cup truly overflows because my portion is more than enough.
What else could I possibly need or want?
How can I tend my soul this week to avoid envy?
3 thoughts on “Is There an Antidote for Envy? Psalm 73”
Anthea, I can relate to these thoughts and I’m grateful that you’ve pointed me back to God and what truly matters. Blessings to you!
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Grateful that you stopped by!
and to you!