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Jul 22, 2018

Before we turn blue from being green

Before we turn blue from being green

Passage: Proverbs 14:30

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Proverbs, Searching for Wisdom

Category: wisdom

We speak euphemistically when we say we’re “green” with envy. In truth it feels more like something we’d associate with a darker hue. Whether of those we despise or those we admire--even those we’re in close relationship with--the experience of envy holds us captive like most other vices, because it reaches so deeply into our view of justice, identity, and goodness. What’s the evidence of envy? The futility in harboring that bitterness? Moreover, what’s the way of escape from it?

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Proverbs 14:30
Call To Worship: Psalm 99:1-5
Sermon Title: Before we turn blue from being green
Central Text: Proverbs 14:30, 23:17; Psalm 73:1-3, 16-17, 20-26
Response: The Apostle’s Creed
Benediction: Jeremiah 9:23-24
Post-Service Text: Psalm 73:26

07.22.18 Sermon Slides


Readings & Scripture

Pre-Service Text: Proverbs 14:30
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.

Call To Worship: Psalm 99:1-5
LEADER: The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim;
let the earth quake! The LORD is great in Zion; He is exalted over all the peoples.

ALL: Let them praise Your great and awesome name! Holy is He!

LEADER: The King in His might loves justice. You have established equity; You have executed
justice and righteousness in Jacob.

ALL: Exalt the LORD our God; worship at His footstool! Holy is He!

Central Text: Proverbs 14:30, 23:17; Psalm 73:1-3, 16-17, 20-26

Prov. 14:30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.

Prov. 23:17 Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
18 Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.

Psa. 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psa. 73:16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.

Psa. 73:20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

Psa. 73:23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Response: The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Benediction: Jeremiah 9:23-24
23 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Post-Service Text: Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Related Scriptures:

  • Ecclesiastes 4:1-4
  • John 12:12-19
  • Romans 1:29
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4
  • Titus 3:3-7
  • James 3:14-16

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. What’s the earliest memory you have of envying someone--whether of someone you despised, or someone you were friends with or admired? What did it feel like? How did you respond?
  2. If envy feels inwardly rotten like it typically does, why then do we continue to indulge it?
  3. What do the sage from the Proverbs and the Psalmist in the passage do to dig their way out of the pit of envy? How is the Gospel an even more compelling basis for avoiding envy those Old Testament sources give?
  4. Why doesn’t love envy (1 Cor 13:4)? Why does love supplant envy?


  • Envy is the consuming desire to have everybody else be as unsuccessful as you are.  Frederick Buechner
  • Envy is feeling bitter when others have it better. Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung
  • Some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know—people who are, in other words, not you. Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
  • It is like water in a channel-if it once breaks out, it will have its course. . . Ask envy what it would [really] have - murder and destruction is at the end of it.  John Owen
  • Humans, as a species, are constantly, and in every way, comparing themselves to one another, which, given the brief nature of their existence, seems an oddity and, for that matter, a waste. Nevertheless, this is the driving influence behind every human's social development, their emotional health and sense of joy, and, sadly, their greatest tragedies. It is as though something that helped them function and live well has gone missing, and they are pining for that missing thing in all sorts of odd methods, none of which are working. The greater tragedy is that very few people understand they have the disease. This seems strange as well because it is obvious. To be sure, it is killing them, and yet, sustaining their social and economic systems. They are an entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem.  Donald Miller, Searching For God Knows What
  • You don't want a love that's pure
    You want to drown love
    You want a watered-down love.
    - Bob Dylan, “Watered-Down Love”