A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
This is a good proverb to post on your mirror or refrigerator, wherever you are going to see it daily. The apostle Paul who faced more troubles and deprivations than most people found the blessing of a tranquil heart. Read what he says in Philippians 4:11-13:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things though him who strengthens me.”
Let’s be honest. What bothers us more than being in need is being in need when others have plenty. What makes us most discontent about our paychecks is not that it is hard to pay bills, but that others can buy more and be more financially secure with their larger paychecks. What bothers us more about not being “successful” is comparing ourselves with others who have done better than we.
But envy makes the bones, our bones, rot. It robs us of peace; it robs us of peaceful relations. It makes us less productive, less useful for the kingdom of God, and that is precisely what Satan wants. Recognize your enemy. It is not the other person who has climbed higher in success than you. It is not God who seemingly withholds blessings from you. It is not yourself with your limitations. It is Satan who hates you and wants to embitter you, making you unfruitful for the work God has given you.
Because Paul knew how to be content, he could not only endure his troubles, but through those same troubles be all the more fruitful in his labors. Pray for a tranquil heart; pray for contentment. The Lord is happy to fulfill such a request, and you will be surprised at the blessings that seem to fall your way.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.