Proverbs 23:17, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.”

One of the key elements advertisers use to get people to buy their products is “envy.”  The definition of envy is, “a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.”  Magazines want the young girl to feel discontent with her body and strongly desire the body of the emaciated super model so she will buy the clothes featured in the magazine.

The beer commercial wants the average guy to feel anxious and uncomfortable with his life without their product.  The one-minute commercial promises him a fantasy world of scantily clothed women, fun parties, and good-looking friends.  Also, this kind of “marketing of envy” starts with children and affects all stages of life.  From the first grader who just got a new bike for his birthday and wants the other kids to envy him to the shrewd businessman that scored a high paying deal and now wants the whole company to know about it- envy is everywhere.

However, in the noted proverb King Solomon gives a direct command to, “not let your heart envy sinners- but to always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.”  In other words, don’t be discontented with serving God and want what sinners have- always be passionate about honoring the Lord.  I remember taking a vacation to Florida when I was pastoring in the inner city of New Orleans and I began to see how much fun all the people my age were having in their sin at the beach, but at that moment my heart was convicted and I heard the Lord say to me, “Am I not enough?”

Serving God may cost you temporary pleasures that sin provides. However, those temporary pleasures will end in destruction.  Therefore, don’t let your heart envy and desire those things- stay passionate for serving God because He is always more than enough!


Do you envy the lifestyle of sinners?


  1. Ask God to show you if you are envious of what sinners have and do.
  2. Repent of any envy you may have in your heart towards sinful things- pornography, greed, fame, pride, and the like.
  3. Ask God to guard your heart and always remind you to honor and fear Him, Psalm 73.