Deception, Envy, and Greed.
One would think that the higher one reaches and
the deeper one digs to uncover their God given
gifts and talents the more people, especially those
closest to us, would be excited and supportive of
us. It is very sad when we learn that those closest
to us... are sometimes the culprits who belittle
our efforts. Even worse, some will secretly plot
in hopes that we will fail.
One gets a foretaste of what hell will be
like every time they engage in acts of
Deception, Envy, and
The Scriptures are quite clear
regarding sin being the root
of all evil in the world.
Matthew 15:19, Romans 5:12, James 1:15
Sin is described, in the
Scriptures, as deceitful.
Hebrews 3:13: Mark 4:19
Because sin promises...
what it cannot produce.
Sin promises life, but ends in death;
Sin promises ecstasy, but ends in misery;
Sin promises satisfaction, but ends in
Often we choose to be bamboozled by sin,
desiring to trust its bogus assertions...
rather than trusting God who owns and
controls it all.
We exist in a kind of void, in which
individualism flourishes, and narcissism,
ego, materialism, the pursuit of self, wealth,
status and greed are ever present.
Deception is the act of intentionally misleading
someone to accept false, fraudulent, and invalid
statements as true and/or valid.
Satan, the originator and father of lies and
deception is notorious for orchestrating such
Lies and deceit comes from
There are lying spirits who lead astray
1 Timothy 4:1;
there are “evildoers and impostors”
looking for unsuspecting individuals
2 Timothy 3:13;
and if the truth be told...our own
hearts are deceitful.
Self-deception is common in our fallen
world. Isaiah 44:20 speaks of an idolater
who is misled by his own “deluded heart.”
The prophet Obadiah identifies arrogance
as one of the roots of self-deception:
“The pride of your heart has deceived you.”
Human pride always blinds us to truth.
It promises honor, but it delivers disgrace:
“Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Happiness, peace of mind, and a good night's
sleep do not lie in wicked, deceitful ways.
Envy (also called invidiousness) is one
of the most potent causes of unhappiness.
Envy is the deep and painful or often hostile
resentment/emotion one feels toward another
who possesses something they want, like
wealth, achievement, perceived superior
quality, possessions, beauty, or any advantage
enjoyed by another.
Envy tends to lust after or to long for, with
great desire, something that is not their
property and not rightfully theirs to long after.
As James 1:15 tells us, the inner person is
where sin originates.
At its root, coveting is the result of envy, a sin which,
once it takes root in the heart, leads to greater sins.
Jesus reiterated this very thought in the
Sermon on the Mount
when He said that lust in the heart is every
bit as sinful as committing adultery.
Envy goes beyond casting a longing glance at
what another builds or buys. Once dwelled upon,
envy of another’s talents and/or possessions can
turn to feelings of resentment and hatred for the
The New Testament identifies covetousness
as a form of idolatry, a sin which God detests.
In the end, envy and covetousness are Satan’s
tools to distract us from pursuing the only thing
that will ever help us realize peace, joy, and
Those who are greedy are ever in want. They are
stuck in an endless effort to be full of desire
without ever reaching satisfaction.
There are many warnings in the Scriptures
about embracing greed and yearning for riches.
Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be
on your guard against all kinds
of greed; a man’s life does not
consist in the abundance of his
Possessions do not satisfy
an empty soul.
Greed is an unreasonable, unnecessary, egotistical,
insatiable longing, or entitlement for unneeded excess,
especially for more wealth, more status, more power,
or more food.
Greed wants it all.
Greed gives rise to anger, delusion, and
Greed is the excessive or rapacious desire and
pursuit of money, wealth, and power. It is based
on incorrectly connecting material wealth with
happiness. Greed is a bottomless pit. For where
envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every
evil thing are there.
Greed and a desire for riches are traps that
bring ruin and destruction.
Greed wrecks relationships, stresses the heart, and
sears the soul. It is a vicious merry-go-round that
Greed is insatiable grasping to selfishly acquire
or possess more than one needs.
Greed always has an insatiable
desire for more... a lot more.
According to Colossians 3:5,
greed is a form of idolatry.
One can be so seduced by the good life... they
become preoccupied with power. They furiously
race after the dollar and things...that they lose
themselves and lose sight of what really matters.
May we reach for greatness
rather than greed.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
“No one can serve two masters, for either he
will hate the one and love the other, or he will be
devoted to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve God and money.”
This verse comes at the end of a passage in which
Jesus tells us to...
“Lay up treasures in heaven.”
Here, Jesus likens the “Love of money” to idolatry.
He refers to money as a “master” we serve at the
expense of serving God.
We are commanded by God to have
“No other gods” before the
only true and living God.
(the first commandment)
Anything that takes first place in
our lives other than our Creator,
God... is an idol and makes us
guilty of breaking the first
If we would re-examine our lives to see where and how
our time, allegiance, energy, and affection are spent on
a daily basis... we could see whom or what we are
Money and possessions can do great good when
used wisely and kept in the proper perspective.
The quarrel is with material gods...
NOT material goods.
It is the love of money, not
money itself, that is a source
of all evil.
1 Timothy 6:10
Wealth is morally neutral; there
is nothing wrong with money, in
and of itself, or the possession
of money. However, when money
becomes one's god and it is
worshiped and adored.. that’s
when incredible evil and sin rears
its ugly head.
"A wolf in sheep's clothing"
has become a common metaphor for any
hidden danger,or for any enemy putting
on a false display of friendship.
"A wolf in sheep's clothing" is something
harmful or problematic disguised as
something peaceful or pleasant.
Deception is a cruel act.
Deception often has many players on different
stages. Deception involves concepts like propaganda,
distraction and/or concealment. Deception is a lie
reduced to practice.
Some mediocre people resent the achiever. They
become furiously jealous because of the achiever's
unusual ability. They feel threatened and will go
into misdirected quests to create obstacles,
dead-ends, and roadblocks for others.
God has blessed each of us with such wonderful
gifts, talents, and abilities. Each of us is unique
and called by God for different tasks and ministries.
Sadly, the envy monster cannot see the forest for
Joseph had a difficult journey.
This young man was hated for being the object of
his father's affection and for having a gift that was
given to him by God. When he shared his dream
with his brothers, he was not trying to set himself
above his brothers. He was simply sharing and
hoping that he was going to receive clarity about
Joseph's brothers did not like his dreams because
they thought Joseph felt he was better than they were.
They hated him even more. Have you ever been in a
place like this? A place where you were not trying to
brag or boast, but you simply needed clarity?
In ancient times, dreams were a serious matter,
treated with respect. God often used dreams to
tell of some future event, or warn people of
approaching times of crisis.
Those who were able to interpret dreams quickly
rose to positions of importance within the empire.
So as the story goes...
a few days later Joseph's father asked him to check
on his brothers. They were in the fields quite a
distance away. So Joseph went to find them.When
the brothers saw Joseph in the distance, they
by his bright garment; and one said to another:
They began to talk
to each other about how they could get rid of him.
and then we will see what becomes of his
dreams."When Reuben, Joseph's oldest brother,
heard this he felt more kindly toward Joseph.He said,
"Let's not kill him, just throw him in a well out here
in the field. "He said this because he was secretly
planning to come back and rescue Joseph when the
other brothers had left.
So when Joseph came to them, they took off his
beautiful robe and they threw him in an empty
well. The brothers must have had a perverse
pleasure as they ripped the robe off of Joseph,
and it must have been particularly painful for
Joseph to have it torn off him.
The heartless character of these brothers is clear -
they could eat a meal with Joseph nearby in the pit.
They could sit down and enjoy food while their
hearts were bent on murdering their brother. A little
while later a group of traders came by that were
wanting to sell some things in Egypt.
One of the brothers spoke up,"Why don't we sell
him to these people, this way we never have to
see him again, and we don't have to kill him."
The other brothers liked this idea, so they sold
Joseph to the traders who were going to Egypt.
They put Joseph's dreams to the ultimate test.
If the dreams really were from God, they would
not be defeated by the hatred of the brothers.
Unfortunately Reuben had been working and
hadn't seen what happened. When he returned
to the well he noticed that Joseph was gone. He
had been sold to an important man named
Potiphar, an assistant to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
As the eldest, Reuben could have simply said
to his brothers, This is wrong! We can't do this!
Reuben wanted to do right by Joseph, but did
not want to alienate his brothers. His desire to
be nice to everyone failed to prevent a great evil.
The rest of the brothers took Joseph's beautiful robe
and dipped it in animal blood and took it back to their
father. When the father saw this he cried, "Some animal
has killed my son." And he cried for many days, so much
that nobody could comfort him. All the brothers kept silent
about the truth.
Sometimes the people in life who are closest to us
can misunderstand our intentions and try to cause
us to go under. If only Joseph's brothers would
have been more discerning as opposed to jealous,
they would have known that they had the same
gift as Joseph.
Jealousy can be blinding.
Afterwards, Joseph was escorted to Potiphar's
place. Joseph started out as a slave, but God was
with Joseph and He helped him do everything right.
So Potiphar made him his helper, and put him in
charge of everything that he owned. Joseph, later,
found himself entangled in a mansion trap with
Potiphar's wife. Potiphar's wife was the "Cougar"
of her day. She tried to seduce Joseph, but Joseph
rejected the overtures of Mrs. Potiphar. In turning
to run from her room, Potiphar's wife pulled and
ripped the outer garment away from Joseph's
Potiphar's wife lied about Joseph to her
husband, so Potiphar had Joseph put into jail.
Occasionally, as we climb up the next rung
of the ladder we may encounter weak steps
that will try to cause us to fail and fall.
This was clearly an attempt
for Joseph to do both.
We are not hopeless... unless we abandon hope.
After Joseph had been in jail for some time
a cup-bearer and baker to Pharaoh had been
sent there. One night each of them had a
dream. They told their dreams to Joseph
and he told the cup bearer that he would soon
be let out of jail. "Please tell Pharaoh about
me,and ask him to get me out of here?"
When the cup bearer was freed he forgot about
what Joseph did.
So Joseph stayed in jail for two more years. God
was still with Joseph in jail. One day the Pharaoh
had a dream, and nobody could explain it to him.
The cup bearer then remembered what Joseph
had done for him, and Joseph was brought to
"Can you understand dreams?" Pharaoh asked.
"I can't, but God helps me." Joseph replied.
After Pharaoh told him his dream Joseph
explained, "God is warning you. There will
be seven years when nothing will grow and
there won't be any food for anyone." "What
can I do?" Pharaoh asked. "God has shown
you what to do. There will be seven years
before the bad years that will be very good.
So good that there will be extra food for
everyone. So you should save a little bit
of each years harvest, that way you will
have enough to get you through the bad
Pharaoh believed all that Joseph told him,
and made him governor of all the land of
The warden put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners.
Joseph never worried because God was with him
and helped him do everything right.
with their faces
to the ground. Then, no doubt, Joseph thought of
of his brothers' sheaves bending down around his
sheaf. He spoke to them as a stranger, as if he did
not understand their language.
After a few meetings with his brothers he could
not keep it in any longer and Joseph said to
"I am Joseph!
Is my father alive?"
But his brothers couldn't answer him because
they were afraid. Then Joseph said, "Come here.
I am your brother, the one you sold! Do not worry,
and do not be angry at yourselves
for selling me, because God has put me here to
save people from starving."So his father, his
brothers, and their families came to live in Egypt
with Joseph, and they had all the food they needed.
There was an obvious change in Joseph's life.
Joseph went in as a slave, but his unique, God-given
ability to interpret dreams brought him out as a governor.
He went from rags to riches in literally one day!
Joseph's God-given ability to interpret dreams allowed
him to Enlighten Pharaoh and Joseph's situation was
Enlivened by God.
Paraphrased by Carole C. Good - Based on Genesis 37
We tend to forget that happiness does not come
as a result of getting something we do not have, but
rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
What does God want?
God wants to see Himself in us!
With every decision we make, we take a step toward
the likeness of our Creator or a step away from Him.
May we always remember
and never forget:
True happiness is not attained by things,
but by a personal relationship with God.