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The Great Reversal: The Last Will Be First

"And so it is, that many who are first now will be last then; and those who are last now will be first then." (Matthew 20:16 NLT)

One day there will be the great reversal. Some of the people you envy on Earth will be at the back of the line on judgment day!

We've been talking about how the sin of envy keeps you from living out your purpose:

  • Envy denies your uniqueness: "God, you knit me together in my mother's womb .... Your workmanship is marvelous .... You watched me as I was formed in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born." (Psalm 139:13-15 NLT)
  • Envy is an insult to God: “Who are you, a mere human being, to criticize God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who made it 'Why have you made me like this?'" (Romans 9:20 NLT)                                      
  • Envy divides your attention: "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24 NLT)
  • Envy distracts you from your purpose: "Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62 LB)
  • Envy wastes your time and energy: "I've learned why people work so hard to succeed; it is because they envy the things their neighbors have. But this is foolishness, like chasing the wind .... Here is someone who lives alone. He has no child or brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with what he has. Yet he never asks, 'For whom am I working so hard?' This is useless, too—and a miserable way to live." (Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 TEV)
  • Envy leads to every other sin: "For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil ..." (James 3:16 AMP)

Pray this today:

"Father, I admit that I've had envy in my life, and I ask you to help me evict it from my heart. Help me to stop comparing myself to others! Help me to start enjoying your goodness to others. Help me realize that you don't have a short supply of grace, that there is plenty to go around. Help me to remember that I already have so much more than I deserve.

“I ask you to forgive me for not being grateful for what I already have. I'm sorry, Lord. When life seems unfair, teach me to trust you, realizing that you have my best interest at heart. Most of all, help me to keep focused on your unique plan for my life. I want to be exactly what you want me to be. Help me to remember that life is about relationships, not getting things. Help me to serve others in love instead of envying them. Jesus, I pray this in your name."


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Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission

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