A friend asked, “Have you noticed that so many Christians seem to be discontented with their lot? That they envy the rest of the world, and maybe even resent a little having to live like Jesus?”
If this is true–and I suspect it is–it’s not a new phenomenon. The condition has been with us from early on.
The malady was voiced perfectly by the Psalmist:
“I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3).
You and I suspect the Psalmist may have been a bit too selective of the ungodly whom he chose to envy. But that’s how we do it, after all.
Envy is selective.
All around the Psalmist were wicked people living wretched lives, filling the jails, fighting and killing, fornicating and drinking themselves into early graves. Those people also are “the boastful” and “the wicked.” But he focuses on none of those. The ones he admires and even envies are the “up and out,” not the “down and out.” Look how he describes them….
–There are no pangs in their death. (Psalm 73:4)
–They are not in trouble like other people. (73:5)
–They have an abundance of this world’s goods. (73:7)
–They speak against God and show no respect for sacred things, and seem to get by with it. (73:8-9)
–They are always at ease; they increase in riches. (73:12)
In short, those he envies have “got it made.”
After casting the envious eye toward his wealthy and ungodly neighbors, the Psalmist begins to wonder if he has wasted his own time serving God. “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain.” “All day long I have been plagued and chastened every morning,” he says, implying that it was all for nothing.
Let’s admit something up front: Serving God can often be tough.