Proverbs 23:17-18 (NLT)
Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD. You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.
Social media has added a turbocharger to the issues of envy, lust, and covetousness. The Haves are being “followed”, “liked”, and “re-tweeted” by the Have-Nots in unbelievable numbers. The Top 5 Instagram celebrities have over 676,000,000 followers who get to exercise their envy and covetousness on a daily basis with each peek into their glamorous and decadent lifestyles. The Top 5 Twitter celebrities have over 487,000,000 followers who appear to hang on their every word (or Tweet) and/or announcement.
Christians, of course, are not immune to this new way of life. We profess our faith in Christ and in His will for our lives while we regularly gaze upon the lives of those who appear to have so much more than we do…and it can easily lead us astray. Of course, every person on the planet is a sinner, but today’s verse is much more pointed than that. Solomon is not warning us about your “garden-variety” sinners, but rather, those who flaunt their sin and lead others astray. Do you want what they have and so proudly display…or do you choose to fear the Lord and trust in His provisions for your life?
It’s pretty easy for all of us to get caught up in the Here & Now of life and the pleasures that can be had in the world…and those pleasures are not necessarily bad. Having nice things is not a sin in and of itself. Taking a nice vacation does not mean you are doing something wrong, necessarily. Wanting to travel and see and do can be a wonderful way to experience God’s creation…but it can also lead to idolatry. We should never make light of the temptation to envy what others have and do and be so foolish as to think we are immune from such worldliness. We are not.
Do you fear God more than man? Do you know what it is to be content with such things as you have? Do you trust God’s eternal plans more than you trust your own earthly ones? God has promised to reward us for our faithfulness, both in this life, and in the life to come…so what’s it going to be? Will you envy the temporary high of the sinner, or put your trust in the hope and promises of the Mighty and Eternal God?