January 3: Proverbs 14:30

“A sound heart is life to the body,
But envy is rottenness to the bones.”

Envy isn’t always obvious. Today I’d like to think about the kind of envy that presents itself as a desire to do a good job – using that as a way to keep us from noticing what it actually is.

When caring for children and the home is what you do full time, you will spend much of your time trying to problem solve. How to get the laundry running smoothly, how to make the playroom functional, how to have the living room be the playroom but still somewhere a person could sit if necessary. How to work through the temper tantrums that your toddler has begun throwing, how to make a birthday fun, how to make your grocery budget last the month. These are the sorts of problems that you work on full time.

But what if there is always a solution that is just outside of your grasp? What if all you need to do your job well is more money? A bigger home, a husband who knows what to say or build the things you think of, children who obey, a better washing machine, a dishwasher, a second car, a second income, more time, more friends, more help from someone?

What if in the course of all your problem solving the solutions are always the things that you don’t have?

Well let’s look back at this verse – a sound heart gives life to to the body. The ESV translated sound as tranquil. A still heart. A heart that isn’t grasping. A heart that is trying to solve the problems that it does have, and not the solutions that it doesn’t. A heart that is thankful for the husband it has and not the counsel it doesn’t have.

Envy of this sort isn’t just not helpful, it is downright destructive. When you are at peace with your situation, with the gifts you have been given, your bones are free to have strength. The bones of your housework, the bones of your work with your children, the bones of your relationship to your husband. When your heart is still, your bones are strong, but when you begin to envy, to look everywhere else, your foundations will fail you.

This verse describes the peace of contentment as more than just prevention – it describes it as a life-giving thing. Contentment gives life to to the body, but envy makes the bones rot.


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13 thoughts on “January 3: Proverbs 14:30

  1. Very encouraging. I appreciate you girls making time to add these daily devotionals. What a blessing!

  2. Love it!! Very helpful to keep this in mind as I’m trying to organize and clean up from the holidays.
    And thank you very much for these daily verses! Huge blessing!

  3. Like Jennifer said, a good kind of punch in the gut. Thank you all for these daily encouragements. I’m sure each one of you are busy already, so I appreciate the time you’ve made to bless other ladies.

  4. Thank you for these words. What a beautiful way to look at content and envy. Oh, may it be so for me in this new year. In tomorrow’s new day. In the next moment I look at my husband, whom I’m very discontent with these last weeks. Lord, may my heart be sound and give life to my body. I do not wish to continue to rob my own soul of the life You have come to give me and abundantly so!

  5. A parallel reminder is found in the answer to Westminster Shorter Catechism question eighty: “The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.” How such a tall order is possible is found in the ten or so questions and answers that follow the eightieth.

  6. Wow…..thank you. I really needed to hear that this week. I think a good way to practice this is to thank God for all of the “menial” things around us; they really are a big deal when it comes down to it! I just gave birth to my fourth and found myself blubbering a thank you to Him last night for infant disposable diapers and wipes a plenty. He is so very good. 🙂

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