WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 11, 2022
TOPIC: REPENT OF ENVY
BY T. O. BANSO
“Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy” (Matthew 27:17-18 New King James Version).
One cannot talk about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ without talking about the role the Jewish leaders – the chief priests and elders – played. Truly, Pilate, the Roman governor, succumbed to pressure and released Jesus to be crucified. Therefore, he was guilty of not having enough courage to set Him free after finding Him innocent. Three times, the book of John records Pilate saying that he found no fault in Jesus (John 18:38; 19:4, 6). Luke 23:4 also records Pilate saying so. Nevertheless, he delivered Him to them to be crucified (John 19:16).
However, just as Jesus told Pilate, those who brought Him before Pilate for trial (the chief priests and the elder) were guilty of a greater sin. “Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin’” (John 19:11 New King James Version).).
Why did these Jewish leaders deliver an innocent man to be crucified? Pilate answered this question. “Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy” (Matthew 27:17-18 New King James Version). Mark 15:9-10 says a similar thing.
Pilate, who was not a Jew, knew that it was because of envy that Jesus was brought before him for trial and crucifixion. Envy! Many people don’t consider envy a serious sin, but it is. Envy provoked hatred in them. Envy blinded their eyes to the truth. Envy made them do the ridiculous – bribing Judas to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:15). Envy made them procure false witnesses against Jesus (verse 60). Envy made them crucify a man who went about doing good and healing those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
During His triumphant entry to Jerusalem, one could see the envy of the Pharisees, a religious and political party in Palestine in New Testament times. They asked Jesus to rebuke the multitude of the disciples who were saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38). But Jesus replied, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (verse 40 New King James Version).
Envy made the Jewish leaders kill the Prince of peace and ask instead for the release of Barrabas, a notorious prisoner (Matthew 27:16), a robber (John 18:40), or someone imprisoned for rebellion and murder (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19, 25).
Envy can make a man plot murder like the Jewish leaders did. They couldn’t celebrate or tolerate the impact of Jesus’ ministry and His fame. There are still many people today envious of the success of others. There are Christians who are envious of fellow Christians because of their achievements, qualities, or possessions.
Some Christians are envious of non-believers because of their material prosperity. The psalmist said, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:2-3 New King James Version). But the prosperity of the wicked is for a short time. The psalmist continued: “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors” (verses 18-19 New King James Version).
It is wrong to be envious of the prosperity of the wicked. Everything does not end here on earth. There is eternity after death. What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:25). “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day” (Proverbs 23:17 New King James Version). As Proverbs 3:31-32 says, do not envy the oppressor and choose none of his ways, for the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, but His secret counsel is with the upright.
Also, just like the chief priests, some ministers could be envious of fellow ministers of God. They could be envious of the grace of God upon their lives and what God is using them to do. They could be competing with them instead of cooperating. Ecclesiastes 4:4 says, “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind” (New Living Translation). The New King James Version says it thus: “Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.”
You should repent of envy. Cain killed Abel because of envy (Genesis 4:4-5, 8). You won’t be a murderer in Jesus’ name. Out of envy, King Saul, until he died, sought to kill David, who had helped him and Israel to kill Goliath (1 Samuel 18:6-9). Envy has made many people commit some serious crimes today. Job 5:2 says, “For wrath kills a foolish man, and envy slays a simple one” (New King James Version). Don’t be the person this scripture is referring to.
Learn from John the Baptist who wasn’t envious of Jesus when he was told that Jesus was baptizing and all people were going to Him (John 3:26). “John answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all” (John 3:27-31 New King James Version).
Repent of envy. Let it be part of your past – your old life, not your new life in Jesus (Titus 3:3). Envy is part of the works of the flesh and it will make you not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 1:28-29). Envy will also affect your health negatively. You can’t be envious and joyful at the same time. “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30 New King James Version). In other words, envy is a disease in the bones or cancer.
Let envy die in your life. James 3:16 says, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (New King James Version). Get rid of envy before it kills you and takes you to hellfire or before it makes you kill another person and takes you to hellfire. Gratitude to God and love for others are ways to overcome envy. Thank God for what He has given you and done for you. Thank Him on behalf of others for the same. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In addition, love everyone as Christ has loved you (John 13:34).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of any way I have been envious of others, including the sinners. Holy Spirit, help me not to be envious of anyone or the prosperity of the wicked. With Your help, Holy Spirit, I will love others as Christ has loved me and be grateful always to God for myself and others in Jesus’ name. Father, deliver all those with deep-rooted envy in their lives. Help them to live a life of gratitude to You and love for others in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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