My kids like play dough. They have a bunch of accessories to make shapes & designs & a big mess. One morning, my 4-year-old started to fuss about something his 2-year-old sister had. I heard him say something to the effect of “but I want that”, I stopped making breakfast to intervene & was smacked in the face by selfishness—-
My son was surrounded by stuff, I counted 10 or 11 items- cookie cutters, multiple stamps, 2 rollers, & a pair of plastic scissors. Yet, he was whining about the 5 items his sister had. He had twice as much as she did & still complained; yet, he was still envious & felt he wasn’t given enough.
I was so floored by the moment & how young kids are when they start to be selfish & put their desires before the desires of others, I almost couldn’t even use is as a teaching moment.
I gathered myself & counted their items out loud & told him he should be happy with all the things he had been given & that he shouldn’t take from someone who has less than he does. It may have fallen on deaf ears since fairness & numbers are still a fluid concept at that age. But I felt like I had done my motherly duty.
I know for kids that is normal behavior & to be expected. Part of the learning process. But I couldn’t shake how we as adults act the exact same way, but here’s the thing….we know better.
Think about how many times in a week we want what someone else has:
I want her body.
I wish my kids acted like theirs.
Why can’t I have a car like that?
Why do they deserve such a big house?
I wish my marriage was more like theirs.
The list goes on & on. Despite our blessings we are never satisfied with them. I couldn’t help but think:
What does God have to say about our selfish, self-serving, never satisfied behavior?
1 John 2:15-16 says:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life- is not from the Father but is from the world”
Desire of the flesh. Desires of the Eyes. Pride of life. When you long or desire someone elses’ life you are lusting after what they have. Lust doesn’t have to be exclusive to a person or a sensual type of lust. Lust simply means to long sinfully for something. Does this mean that we can never want for something. No. But we have to ensure that our hearts desire is not for that thing & that we keep our eyes fixed on the Holy One. The one who has blessed us tremendously. Matthew 22:37 says:
“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
That means that our heart should only long for God, the longing for anything else in that way is lusting. If you refer back to 1 John, it says if we love the world, we can’t love God too. Just like Matthew 6:24 says
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.”
So you see, longing for what someone else has is not only bad for us & the life we live, but it is sin & sin breeds like rabbits- before you know it, it has completely taken over & you don’t know where it all came from. Look at areas of your own life. What areas could be at risk?