Hinge point: But

This morning, I hopped onto the treadmill, grabbed the next scripture in my stack of cards, and started my meditative run.  That sounds like an oxymoron.  It’s not.

In any case, I nearly stopped (but thankfully didn’t, since the treadmill doesn’t read my mind well) as the two-edged sword of truth hit me:

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the LORD always. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

-Proverbs 26:17-18

These two verses are surrounding by fatherly words of encouragement.  They remind me of what I tell my kiddos: When you do the right thing and make good choices, my heart is happy, too!

Pointed advice, caution, and encouragement ring here, though, and it all hinges on the word but.  The choice is clear: envy those who live as they want without regard for God’s ways, or live out of an understanding of Who God is.  When you fear God, be aware that your future and reward are real, and that your expectation will not be destroyed.

It seems so simple and so clear.  It is.  It seems so comforting.  It is.  When trust in God is growing, envy shrinks.  When envy grows, trust shrinks, and the fear of missing out develops.

The challenge stands.  Where I am tempted to envy the ways of the culture around me that denigrate the Truth, refuse the Way, and therefore don’t experience Life as God intended?  Where is the body of Christ tempted as a whole to conform to the ways of the world instead of being renewed and shaped by the sovereign love of God?

I kept running, and shifted from reflection into prayers for protection and discernment.  May we see the temptation to envy as it is: a lack of reverence of God, and may we remember His faithfulness to His Word.

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