Akin and Roy were classmates in the University of Jos. They graduated in 2009, same day, same grade. They move to different parts of Nigeria seeking jobs and haven’t set eyes on each other ever since. Akin started out with a blue chip company in Lagos while Roy had to settle for an internship position with a small company in Abuja. They both served God fervently in school and increase, remarkably, in their knowledge of God even after school. Recently, Roy relocated to Lagos to search for a new job and as he treks the streets of Victoria Island one sunny afternoon, he sees Akin driving by in a 2006 Toyota Highlander.
Akin! Akin!! Akin!!! Roy calls out, as he raises his hands to get Akin’s attention. Akin suddenly recognizes Roy, pulls over and rushes to Roy give him a warm hug. They chat for minutes, Akin hands Roy his complimentary card, and drives him to the nearest bus stop where he can get the bus. On the bus ride home, Roy feels very discontent with his life; thinking – my classmate is doing very well and already has a lovely car but here I am, sitting next to a smelly meat seller and going to a house where I squat with a relative. When he gets home that night, he prays fervently that God should turn his situation around. The next day he narrates this experience to his Pastor, who holds hands with him in a ‘prayer of agreement’ for a turnaround within 6 months.
Have you ever had such a feeling of discontent? I see believers from the pulpit to the pews exhibit such tendencies from time to time. It is called envy – a feeling of discontent with regard to another’s advantage, success or possessions. These days, we even attempt to spiritualize it by getting provoked to “pray harder” and ask God questions in prayer because someone we think should be our equal appears to have more possessions, higher position or better progression. But Galatians 5:26 says “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” For Job 5:2 says, “For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.” Beloved, envy kills!
The bible says in Proverbs 14:30 (KJV) “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones”. The God’s Word translation says envy is like bone cancer. Are you sure this cancer is not currently eating your bones? There is nothing wrong with having a feeling of discontent with your current situation. However, as a believer, such a feeling should only be provoked when God enlightens you via the Word and other means that your lifestyle doesn’t match up to His standard, or that you are not operating at the level He has designed for you. But when you only think you need a step-up in any area of your life because you see someone else step up, then it could be an indication that you are not walking with God, and probably are not convinced of his plan and program for your life. Such tendencies will lead to living a confused life; James 3:16 says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
The snail and the cheetah may not have entered Noah’s ark at the same time, but they both made it there and survived the flood. Let’s stop this envy bone cancer from spreading in our midst; stop getting unnecessarily worked up due to the progress of others in ministry, career, or life in general. Cruise calmly in the lane God has placed you, at God’s prescribed pace, to the place that He has prepared for you.