Endings and Beginnings

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,

and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Ecclesiastes 7:8

Ecclesiastes 7:8 states that the end is better than the beginning, and patience is better than pride. This verse emphasizes the importance of completing tasks and having patience rather than being proud. There are three perspectives on approaching life: necessary endings for growth, establishing healthy boundaries, and understanding life in retrospect while moving forward.

Dr. Henry Cloud, a psychologist, emphasizes the importance of endings for healthy boundaries and personal growth. Endings allow for closure, creating space for positive beginnings. They offer opportunities for learning, resilience, and personal development. Similarly, new beginnings bring renewal, growth, and the pursuit of new goals. The balance between endings and beginnings is crucial.

This balance aligns with Kierkegaard's philosophy. He emphasized that life must be fully comprehended from a retrospective perspective yet simultaneously lived forward.

According to Kierkegaard, life can only be understood backward but must be lived forward. Reflecting on the past allows us to gain insight, but it's also important to constantly move forward into new experiences and endeavors.

Looking Back

Hindsight gives us valuable insight that can sharpen our foresight as we continue down the unique path of life. As we stand at the threshold of the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, hindsight provides spiritual wisdom and confirms Kierkegaard's philosophy about life. "Better is the end of a thing than its beginning."

When we hear the phrase that better is the end than the beginning, it may seem counterintuitive. We often assume that beginnings are better. However, wisdom literature tells us otherwise. We all start with a mindset of new beginnings, like at the beginning of a new year or a new goal. But what truly matters is not how we start but how we finish.

Let me illustrate this in your life. At the beginning of 2024, you may have made resolutions like going to the gym or having a dry month in January. You may have even declared that you will live by a budget for the entire year. We all have this mindset of new beginnings. But what matters is whether we can follow through and finish what we started.

Ecclesiastes wisely says it is better to finish something than just begin. Anyone can start a process, like going to school, but the real question is whether you can finish and graduate. Starting is easy, but finishing requires dedication and commitment.

Life is a cyclical experience, constantly shifting between endings and beginnings. We all have a series of unfinished tasks and projects in our lives. Some of us are serial beginners, always starting new things but struggling to finish them.

Life itself is a continuous cycle of endings and beginnings, just like the natural world transitioning from winter to spring, symbolizing the end of dormancy and the start of growth. Similarly, the transition from autumn to winter represents the end of the harvest season and the beginning of a period of rest and preparation for new growth. This rhythm of endings and beginnings is observed not only in the natural world but also in our personal and social lives.

Growth and Change

Our world consists of various endings, such as completing academic milestones, concluding relationships, transitioning between jobs, or experiencing loss. However, these endings are often followed by new beginnings, such as pursuing further education, forming new relationships, starting a new career, or finding meaning in the face of loss.

Similarly, in our society, we constantly undergo transitions and transformations. Old traditions, technology, and systems give way to new ideologies, social movements, technological devices, and cultural shifts. This continuous cycle leads us from endings to new beginnings, requiring us to reimagine and reconstruct what has ended.

Therefore, we currently find ourselves in one of the greatest times in history, filled with opportunities for growth and change.

We are about to experience the cyclical transition from 2023 to 2024, marking the end and beginning of a new year. This annual event is celebrated worldwide with fireworks, gatherings of family and friends, cultural and religious rituals, music, dance, and reflective customs. It is common to have traditional foods like greens and black-eyed peas for good luck. Ecclesiastes 7:8 highlights the significance of endings and beginnings, stating that the end of a matter is better than its beginning.

I want to share some key principles with you as we approach the end of chapter 2023 and prepare for chapter 2024. Let's take a moment to reflect on our progress in 2023. How can we measure our personal, professional, and spiritual progress?

Jesus shared a parable in Luke 13:6-9 about a fig tree that didn't bear fruit. The owner wanted to cut it down, but the vine dresser asked for one more year to dig around it and fertilize it. The parable teaches us the importance of measuring productivity and progress. Let's apply this principle to our lives and allow ourselves to grow and bear fruit.

Measure Your Progress

How successful was 2023 for you? I know you're all excited about the upcoming celebration this evening. I know you're looking forward to it. But after you do what you plan to do, take a moment to assess your progress this year. Does anyone here feel like me that they could have been more successful? Despite not achieving as much as I could have, I'm grateful for another year to improve.

Before you get too worked up, let’s focus on measuring progress and productivity in three areas of your life. The first domain is personal growth. Focus on your growth, not your neighbor's, spouse's, or children's. Can you say you've grown in character, integrity, and emotional intelligence? Have you learned to control your emotions better and not react impulsively? Reflect on how you've grown from your experiences in 2023. Even if it was a challenging year, it provided opportunities for personal development.

Let me sum it up: if someone said 2023 was bad, we can still grow from those experiences. Ask yourself, how have I grown in 2023? Have I become a better person? Can people see the improvement in me? It's disheartening when people haven't seen you in decades and say you're still the same.

We should measure progress in our professional lives. What have you done in 2023 to increase your net worth? Have you read books? Taken courses? Expanded your intellectual capacity? Have you been an asset or a liability in your professional life? It's important to increase our learning along with our earnings.

Now, let's discuss the domain of our spiritual lives. How has our relationship with God grown? How's our prayer and worship life? Are we consistent in spending time in communal worship? We can't prioritize everything else and leave God for when it's convenient. We need to take our spiritual walk seriously. It's crucial to assess our progress and continue measuring it.

Modify Our Plans

We not only measure progress but also modify plans at the end of the year. Take a moment to audit 2023 and honestly assess what didn't work. Evaluate plans that are not producing. Stop and do an honest assessment.

Due to changes we may have experienced in 2023, our initial plans may need to be re-evaluated, re-aligned, and revamped based on the current reality. Plans that worked in 1999 may not work now. Reflect on what needs to be recalibrated in your life. Take a strategic and reflective pause to make these critical adjustments for a better life.

Understand that there are two sets of plans: yours and God's. Conflict arises when we prioritize our plans over God's plans. Instead of spending time on vision boards and cutting out pictures, focus on active participation and performance. A poster board with pictures and words alone is a waste of time. Nothing on that poster board will become a reality if you don't participate.

There's a difference between your plans and God's plans. Consider what's on the poster board and whether God is interested. God may not have the same plan for your life as you do.

Proverbs says that while you may plan, the Lord establishes steps. So, ensure that God approves your plans and isn't just co-signing for them. Men may make vision boards, but God's purpose is what will stand. Sometimes, frustration arises when your plans don't align with God's purpose, so take a minute to reflect on that.

Before you start cutting and pasting, talk to God and ask Him what His plan is for your life. God has plans for you, plans to prosper and give you hope and a future. However, remember that Jeremiah 29:11 was spoken to people in captivity for 70 years, so it's important to understand its context.

Let me get straight to the point. I suggest you consider these five questions when creating your vision board:

  1. What gives you a deep sense of purpose?
  2. Where do your talents intersect with the world's needs?
  3. How have your past experiences shaped you for today?
  4. What opportunities and doors are open for you to stand on your kingdom platform?
  5. What does God want you to prioritize in your life?

These questions will help guide you in the right direction and make the most of your vision board. Remember, measuring your progress, modifying your plans, and adding value to others is important.

As we approach the end of the year, it's a great time to mature in your perspective and mend relationships that have been strained. Let go of resentment and bitterness and make room for growth in 2023.

Minding your posterity means thinking about the generation to come. Instead of just focusing on 2024, consider how it connects to previous years and your overall legacy. How can you enhance your legacy in 2024?

2024 may be the year to end toxic habits and relationships. Consider reading the book "Necessary Endings" by Dr. Henry Cloud, which explores the importance of setting boundaries and letting go of things that no longer serve us. By making necessary endings, you create space for something greater and allow God to bless you with new opportunities.


Lord, we thank You for Your Word and this verse that lives in obscurity. Better is the end than the beginning. Help us not just hear but truly understand. As we assess our progress and adjust our plans, help us end 2023 well so that as we start 2024, we do so with clarity about Your plan, Your purpose for our lives, and our ability to fulfill it.

Father, I pray for someone here today who is unsaved or disconnected from the church. In this moment, lead, guide, save, and deliver them. But most importantly, our prayer is that someone will come to know Your son, Jesus Christ, as their Redeemer, Lord, and Savior.

We pray in Jesus Christ's name, and all those who agree say, “Amen.”

Life’s Dichotomy: Rejoicing and Weeping

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15


Today, I want to focus on one verse from the book of Romans. Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep." This verse highlights life's dichotomy of rejoicing and weeping.

Did you know the word "economy" originates from the Greek language and means “to divide into two contrasting or opposing things.” Practically, it refers to creating clear distinctions between mutually exclusive options, ideas, or experiences. In nature, we observe this dichotomy with spring showers accompanied by sunshine.

Mothers experience the dichotomy of labor challenges and childbirth's joys. Similarly, parents experience the excitement of dropping off their child on the first day of kindergarten, followed by tears as they drive away.

Some years thereafter, that same kindergartener graduates from high school. You now experience anxiety as you move to yet another phase.

Maybe you sit there silently, hoping that the fulfillment and excitement of having your check directly deposited into your account will outweigh the sadness of automatic bill payments taking away your entire check.

For those who have stood before the altar, you remember the economy in that declaration of love and fidelity. You vowed to take your partner as your spouse, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and cherish until death do you part.

Life consists of experiences - the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys. We all try to harmonize these conflicting experiences of life.

Consider the story of Job. In Job 1:21, Job acknowledges the realities of life by saying that he came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing, but still blesses the Lord. Despite his wife's urging to curse God and die, Job responds in Job 2:10 by questioning whether we should only expect good from God and not also misfortune. Job 13:15 further exemplifies his trust in God, even if God were to kill him.

Another example is seen in the experience of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. Despite being beaten and incarcerated, they choose to sing and praise God at midnight.

In Romans 12:15, believers are encouraged to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. This reflects the complexity of human emotions and experiences and challenges us to be fully engaged and present in the lives of others. It emphasizes the importance of compassion, empathy, and supporting one another in all circumstances.

By rejoicing and mourning with others, believers cultivate a supportive and uplifting environment that reflects love, care, and compassion, as taught by Christ.

As we enter the holiday season, it is important to recognize that some may be celebrating while others may be experiencing difficulties.

This passage urges believers to rejoice with those who are joyful and weep with those who are sorrowful. During the holidays, people experience a wide range of emotions - joy, gladness, glee, sorrow, sadness, and loneliness.

We must be empathetic and compassionate towards those going through a difficult time during this season. We should remember that everyone faces challenges, and our response should be one of love and support for all, regardless of their circumstances. Not everyone has a merry Christmas despite what retailers and movies may market.

Depression during the holiday season is a reality that affects many people. Feelings of shame, loneliness, and loss often accompany it. Some may dismiss these feelings, but they are real to those experiencing them. Depression during the holidays is not uncommon, with millions of people worldwide and a significant percentage of adults in the US experiencing it.

“Winter Blues,” a term used to describe this phenomenon, can cause extreme anxiety due to time and financial constraints. The pressure to give and receive gifts also adds to the worry. The causes of holiday blues or winter blues can vary, but may include past experiences of depression and anxiety.

As Christmas approaches, many people are feeling anxious. They have to meet their loved ones and put on a fake smile, even when there are tensions and disagreements. Financial pressures and societal expectations of gift-giving only add to the stress. Traveling can also be a source of anxiety, with rising ticket prices.

For some, this season is especially difficult because it reminds them of the loss of a loved one. They must face empty chairs and a lack of presents under the tree. However, in life's challenges, the Apostle Paul encourages us to rejoice with those who are happy and to empathize with those who are sad. We live in the tension of these contrasting experiences.

The Call to Compassion

So, how can we do it? Here's the answer, don't miss it:

Compassion: As believers, we must embody the compassion of Christ even during difficult times. A heart of compassion is essential as we navigate the holiday season and reach out to hurting people.

Acknowledge and validate: One critical step towards developing compassion is to acknowledge the pain and struggles of others. Actively listen, engage with empathy, and validate the emotions and experiences that others may be having.

In other words, my feelings are valid, and you have no right to invalidate them. I am experiencing pain, grief, sadness, and loneliness. As a result, you should not dismiss or disregard my feelings.

The reality is that we all face challenges in coping with grief, loneliness, financial difficulties, and other hardships. As the body of Christ, we must show compassion by empathizing with others' feelings and understanding their challenges. Empathy means putting ourselves in their shoes and seeking to understand their emotions and difficulties.

It is not enough to simply acknowledge their pain; we should also associate ourselves with their feelings. This association demonstrates empathy. People need more than just sympathy; they need empathy, which includes listening, kindness, understanding, and support.

Paul's call to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping challenges us to show compassion and comfort. During the holiday season, individuals often face challenges and seek comfort in their crises. We believers are called to embrace this challenge by offering genuine support.

To do so, we need to step out of our comfort zones and enter into the crisis zones of others, providing solace, support, and strength. God comforts us and enables us to extend that comfort to others.

The Challenge of Comfort

To embrace the challenge of comfort, we need to cultivate a safe space where vulnerability is embraced. This means creating an environment where individuals can freely express their feelings without fear of judgment. It is okay not to be okay, and we should allow others to share their hurts, anger, and frustrations openly.

We shouldn't rush to give theological explanations or quote scriptures but simply be present with them, offering a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. Sometimes, they need someone to be there, providing tissues and allowing them to cry and lament. The ministry of presence and the willingness to listen and support without judgment are powerful acts of comfort.

If you are struggling this holiday season, just let it all out. Cry as much as you want. God is not bothered by this. Lamenting is mentioned in a book called Lamentations in the Bible. God understood the necessity and natural inclination to lament when people are hurting.

The book of Psalms also contains many instances of lamentation. There are even places in Scripture where people question God, asking how long and why. God, where are you? What's going on? Do you know the old church saying that God may not come when you want Him, but He's always on time?

Cultivating a Safe Place of Vulnerability

Here's the reality: cultivating a safe place of vulnerability requires suspending comments and judgment. A safe space requires a non-judgmental attitude. We can't change what has already happened.

Let me show you how to create a safe space. A safe space is a place of empathy, compassion, and confidentiality. We must cultivate a safe place for empathetic listening to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Empathetically listen to the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others.

The Consolation Through Community

In other words, God created us to be interdependent. We need each other, and God has placed us in the body of Christ, known as the Community of Faith. This community serves as a network of supportive individuals who provide solace, consolation, and encouragement to one another.

Going through life alone in grief, depression, and anxiety is not ideal. We can learn from Elijah's mistake in running into the wilderness without his companion. We need someone to talk to and support us when we feel overwhelmed.

Consolation through community happens when we bear one another's burdens. Life was never meant for us to carry all our burdens alone. As Paul says in Galatians 6:2, we are to bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ, which is love. We need someone who stands with us in solidarity and community, someone we can trust.

So, let go of the cape of trying to be a superhero and recognize when something is too much for you to handle alone. Men, it takes nothing from your masculinity to say that this is a bit too much. I'm about to lose my mind. It takes nothing from you, sister. You may think, “I don't need anybody.” But I will see how far you can get through life without needing anybody. Life can put weights on you that will bring you to your knees, and when you get there, that's a good posture before the Lord.

Not only do I need someone coming alongside to help me bear my burdens, but in this consolation through community, there's also the bolstering of one another's beliefs. We're building one another in believing.

The Bolstering of One Another’s Belief

You've got to have somebody on your side who can intercede when you can't pray for yourself. You need somebody who's your intercessor and not your instigator. You need somebody to go down on a bow, bend their knees, and pray on your behalf. Even when I don't have faith in myself, I need somebody else to believe in me and encourage me.

You remember David, right? He was anointed as the next king of Israel. Saul, who the Sovereign fired, is Jonathan's father. Saul became so paranoid of David's presence that he started chasing him to assassinate him.

One day, David ran for his life into the wilderness. Jonathan acknowledged that God's hand was on David and that he was assigned and anointed to be the next king of Israel. Jonathan was fine not being the king as long as he could support the King Maker. Jonathan went to David in the woods and said, "David, it's time for you to strengthen your faith in God.”

You don't need friends like Joe. You need friends like Jonathan. Someone who will encourage you, remind you to stay positive, and motivate you to keep going because you still have a future and destiny.


Here's my message: I understand this holiday can be tough for some. You may be trying to hide your pain behind smiles and festivities, but deep down, you're hurting. I want you to know I'm here for you, as your friend Craig.

I pray that God will give you strength and comfort during this difficult season. I pray that you will find the peace of God that goes beyond understanding, even in your struggles.

The Sinkhole of Greed: Esau’s Erosion Part 2


Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore, his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.


Genesis 25:29-34


Last weekend, we shared that we’ve built our American society upon these particular actions: driven by materialism, deceived by the media, dominated by pseudo-money, and consumed with greed.


Our biblical case study today continues to look at the life of Esau as it is recorded in Genesis, where we see how he fell into the sinkhole of greed. We discover Esau’s excessive appetite, exchanging his birthright for a bowl of stew. We also know that his excessive appetite is stimulated by three things: lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.




Today, we’re looking at the downward spiral in Esau’s life that caused him to be stuck in the sinkhole of greed. Why would Esau give up his heritage over his hunger? What are some of the things that caused him to sink deeper into greed?




Esau engaged in the disastrous consequence of dismissing his divine duties as he gave into the insatiable greed within his heart. The fleshly, carnal impulses of Esau’s heart desired immediate gratification.


Esau wanted the bowl of stew, now, not later. Even though he was a skilled hunter and could have easily gone back to hunt, Esau did not. He caved into instant gratification.


Instant gratification results from impulsive decision-making—without considering the weight of the outcome of that decision.




Delayed gratification says you’re willing to wait or tell yourself, “No, not now. Not at this moment.” When you can put yourself in a 24, 36, or even 48-hour window before making a decision, you’re practicing delayed gratification.


That’s something Esau did not do. Coupled with a lack of self-control, Esau couldn’t resist the temptation of wanting to have that bowl of stew.


The downward spiral into the sinkhole of greed starts with us being driven by gratification and dominated by irrational justification.




When you want something, you will seek to justify it, no matter how crazy or foolish it sounds. When we become irrational, we start making foolish decisions. Esau thought he was about to die of hunger, but if he had just calmed down, he probably wouldn’t have given up his birthright so easily.


But we all know that when we really want something, we always know how to justify it. We try to make it rational. We downplay the ramifications of our foolish decisions.




Esau does not see the self-imposed pain he is about to bring into his own life by giving up his birthright for a bowl of stew. Truth be told, he got the bowl of stew, but that stew came with a whole lot of drama.




Esau had devalued what could have been one of the greatest blessings in his life. All of us have had Esau moments where we’ve had certain opportunities that God wanted to bless us with, and yet we devalued the birthright blessing for our own bowls of stew.




When we look at Esau’s life, what can we take from his life and apply to our own lives to help us when we find ourselves slowly sinking into greed’s sinkhole?




Covetousness is the attitude that says, “I want what you have, and I want it at any cost.” We see the attitude of need here, which is almost like irrational thinking. There’s a fine line between need and greed. Esau’s story is a reminder to confront our own inclinations toward covetousness. We can only confront it when we have a spirit of awareness.




Seek what is spiritual in substance, which is more credible than the carnal compulsions of our flesh. Let’s not be like Esau and stop craving for what is credible. Let’s not give up spiritual blessings for something temporary and trivial.


In Matthew 4:4, Jesus acknowledges that we need both physical bread and God’s Word. If you’re not nourishing your spiritual side, you’ll always have a weak will when greed shows up. Boost your spiritual immune system. Get to a place where you’re spiritually healthy and can withstand greed.




Impulsive decisions reveal the importance of character and integrity. Have you discerned enough to recognize when you’re not making a rational decision?




Stop allowing the impulses of immediate gratification to cause you to forget how blessed you are right now. Count your blessings!


Conquering greed is cultivating contentment. If the Lord doesn’t do anything else in your life, you can testify that He’s done enough already.




Think before you decide. If I do this now, if I get this now, what are the consequences? For every action, there’s a reaction. Give yourself space—maybe a 24, 36, or 48-hour window to think about and calculate the consequences.





Don’t end this message with guilt, shame, or condemnation. Start with small steps. Find a creative way to turn the tide. It will look different for everyone, but wherever God is leading you, remember Esau’s story and what not to do.


You should seek to cultivate contentment and not allow greed to dig a deeper hole.


Start with a renewed mind, and apply what you’ve learned today.

The Sinkhole of Envy Part 2


Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, He had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”


Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.


Genesis 4:1-8




Envy is that feeling that occurs when you want something someone else has. Another more thorough definition of envy is a resentful, dissatisfied longing for another person’s possessions, position, fortune, achievement, or success.


Most people are motivated to succeed because they envy their neighbors. But as the Bible says, that is meaningless like chasing the wind or being on a hamster wheel. When you compare yourself to someone else, there's always going to be someone that has more than you have or has what you think you want, and so it's a pursuit that never ends.


Let’s look at the damage that envy causes.





A faulty comparison creates envious resentment. In our passage, Abel's offering showed that he was a righteous man and that God approved his gifts. One gave by faith, which means we understand that one was without faith. However, Cain wanted the same results for his offering, even though his efforts were subpar.


Envy can blind you to what you need to do to get the desired results.


Sometimes people want what you have, but they're not willing to go through what you did to get it, and this was the problem with Cain. What's interesting to note is that Cain didn't want to give what Abel gave, but he didn't want Abel to get praise from God either.





Who might you blame because of the unfair, faulty comparisons in your life? God warned Cain that unchecked envy allows sin to come in and take control. Cain envied his brother and allowed envy to take him down the road to murder.





Maybe you think you’d never kill anyone just because you’re envious of them, but have you ever “killed” someone with your words? Have you “killed” anyone with your poor treatment of them?





Envy ruptures our relationships with others and, most especially, with God. Look at Genesis 4:9,


Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?”


There are two things Cain did there. It was his second opportunity to correct himself and ask forgiveness; instead, he descended into deception in the face of God Himself. There is no sense in lying to an all-knowing God.


Any question that God has for you, He already knows the answer. He's wanting to see if you can confess your sins and make it right. So first, Cain lied to God, and the second thing he did, instead of answering the question, was he deflected.





 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”


Genesis 4:11-12



Cain was in an area that could have made him prosperous, but was now cursed. He was a tiller of land, and because of his unfair treatment toward his brother, the land would no longer be prosperous for him.




Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, You have driven me today away from the ground, and from Your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.


Genesis 4:13-15


Aren’t you glad we serve a God that loves us despite our downfalls? Just look at His response to Cain, who had murdered his brother, in verses 13-15. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t give us what we truly deserve?


God loves us and wants to redeem us from the mess we put ourselves in.


Envy causes us to compare something God had not intended for us to something that someone else has.The core of envy is comparison, and here's the problem with envy: It's like telling God that He doesn’t know how to give you what you need because you want the gift another person has. But, no, God knew exactly what He was doing when He created you.


Your problem is that you keep looking at others, trying to get what they have instead of concentrating on what God has given you. Envy robs you of enjoying what God has gifted you with and who God has called you to be.


Appreciate what God has given you and cultivate the gift that He has given you instead of putting all your energy into trying to be a second-hand imitation of someone else. Instead, become a primary imitation of who God called you to be.


God has gifted that person you envy for whatever assignment they have, and He has gifted you with your gift. We all have our assignments, and when you’re out of place, you’re affecting the whole body of Christ. You'll never experience joy trying to be someone else. Be who God has called you to be.


He has called you, wants to groom you, and wants to teach you something. The problem with envy is that we want someone else's blessing, and God didn't call us to have that. So, it's either that we're asking for what somebody else's has or we're asking for it and it’s not our timing.




We’re not just “some body.” We are God’s body. We don’t own ourselves. We belong to God. When you understand who you are, you don't have time to be envious of somebody else.


We are God's handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us.


Don’t be a cheap imitation of someone else. Be who God has called you to be. Celebrate who you are, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made.


God has a design and plan for each of us. He’s called you, and He’s gifted you. Take heart!


The Sinkhole of Envy: The First Act of Envy


Now Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain, a worker of the ground. In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”


Cain spoke to Abel, his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.


Genesis 4:1-8



Envy is a highly complex emotion. It’s often identified by feelings of jealousy and resentment, or it can appear as a strong desire for what someone else has. Sources of envy are lifestyle, status, or even relationships.


Quite simply, envy is a sense of discontentment with your own life. Discontentment because you desire to have but have not gotten, or covetousness towards another person’s possessions, leads us to think that life isn’t fair.


Envy can push us to always seek more. Suppose we constantly feel too envious. It can become harmful and cause problems in our relationships, making us feel like we’re not as good as the people we envy.


Envy is one of the most destructive emotions a person can have. The ability to handle envy healthily is crucial, especially in recognizing its root causes.





When a person experiences envy toward someone else, it may cause feelings of resentment toward that individual that may grow intensely. At first, people may deny feelings of envy. We tend to shift the blame toward others and project our feelings, making it seem that the problem lies with them rather than with us.




Genesis 4:3-5 gives us little insight into why God accepted Abel’s offerings but not Cain’s. Cain then makes a faulty comparison between him and Abel. Both offerings were given to God, but ultimately it was up to God to decide whether to accept or reject them.


Cain’s issue was not really with Abel. A faulty comparison always causes envy. Cain’s frustrations should have been directed at God because God rejected Cain’s offerings.


Nobody wants to blame God, though, right? Although in reality, it is God whom we have the issue with. But you don't want to blame God, so you project your emotions on somebody else.





In Genesis 4:6-7, Cain had every chance to bring God another offering. Still, instead of being mature enough to say that he had things to work on, he made it about somebody else.


What someone else does or doesn’t do has no barrier to what God allows in your life.


Some people envy someone else’s success, but don’t envy what it takes to be that successful. We often envy the person’s results and not their sacrifice to get to where they are now.


Cain was envious of Abel’s gift being accepted when all that he had to do was do what Abel did: bring a more acceptable offering to God. Hebrews 11:4 clarifies why God chose Abel’s offerings over Cain’s.


If God does not accept your offering, the problem is not with someone He accepted. You may need to go back and try to bring Him your best. Too often, we blame other people for where we are in life. It's always someone else's fault, not our own.


When you find yourself looking at other people's life juxtaposed against your own, trying to figure out why this has happened or why stuff hasn’t worked out, be careful because you are making yourself vulnerable by allowing Satan to make you envious of what others have.





Genesis 4:8 is a bleak example of how envy ruptures relationships. Envy is pervasive. It spreads everywhere like cancer. Be careful about comparing your life to others.


Cain’s story tells us that not everyone will be happy with what God is doing in your life. There will always be someone bothered by you simply living your life. Social media fuels the flame by having all our best life highlights out there for the world to see.


When you feel bothered seeing other people’s highlights, especially on social media, ask yourself why. Why are you so bothered by it? You may not want to call it envy, but it is what it is.


We all have moments of being envious. We often think we deserve more and don’t understand why God holds back on us but not others. We’ve got to remember that our issue isn’t with the person we’re feeling envious of but with God.


One of the ways to move through being envious is to learn how to celebrate other people’s successes, especially if they’re your friends.





The biggest deception of envy is the fear of missing out. We look at everyone else's life, and we feel inadequate. But we should remember that God works on a different timeline. Our 30-second wait could be 11 years for God. Stop complaining about how long something you desire takes.


In the fullness of time, things will fall into place. It may not be what you imagined, but God has planned everything. Stop looking at other people and being envious of what God is doing in their lives.


Don’t be too busy focusing on what others have that you can’t even appreciate what God is doing in your life. Let God do what He’s supposed to be doing.


The question now is, do you trust God? If you trust God, stop comparing your life to other people’s. God wants us to understand that what He’s doing in someone else's life will not prevent the plan He has for you.


If you could glimpse what God’s preparing for you, you wouldn’t even focus on what others are doing.


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11


God’s got you. Don't allow envy to corrode your heart to the point that you can't even see God moving in your life.


Remember that you are blessed.


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