Welcome to the Onward Christian Soldiers Discipleship Class. I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society and pastor of Gospel Light House of Prayer International. The purpose of this time together is to teach young believers everything they need to know about their faith in Jesus Christ and provide them with the knowledge they need to live victorious Christian lives.
Our key Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
— PRAYER —
Our lesson today is titled “How to Overcome Temptation, Part 119 (Envy)”
In this section of our Onward Christian Soldiers discipleship class, we are looking at specific temptations that are, as the Bible says, “common to man.” We are looking at what the Bible says about these sins so we can be aware of its dangers and so that we can hide Scripture in our hearts to use when we are tempted.
The sin that we are looking at today is the sin of envy. This is the fifth sin in a list of 12 temptations that comes from two sources — one ancient and one modern. The first source is a list that was developed by monks in the early church called “the seven deadly sins” or the “cardinal sins.” The second source is a Barna survey from 2011 which tracked the top temptations Americans admitted to struggling with.
Today, we are looking at Genesis 37:5-11. (Remember, the text of this lesson is made available online after each class, so you can go to our website Gospellighthouseofprayer.com, click the “Onward Christian Soldiers” banner on the home page, and begin to learn these verses by heart throughout the week.)
5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
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Margaret Thatcher said, “The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build.”
A study published in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology found that three-fourths of individuals (79 percent of women and 74 percent of men) reported envying someone within the previous year. Younger people (under 30) were more likely to admit to feelings of envy than older people. And people were more likely to report feelings of envy towards their peers rather than towards outsiders.
On last week, we began looking at one of the most famous stories of envy and its outcome in the Bible. Joseph’s older brothers were envious of the favor that their father showed him. They probably resented the way Joseph carried himself, knowing that he was highly regarded by their father. It seems as though they also viewed Joseph as a kind of spy for their father who would send him to check up on them and report back. One day, as their envy heated to a boiling point, they saw and opportunity to get rid of Joseph — first, they plotted murder, but after Reuben intervened, they sold Joseph into slavery and told their father that he had been eaten by wild animals.
Robert Deffinbaugh argues that the envy of Joseph’s brothers was not merely the loathing of a sibling, but something that had a more concrete definition because Joseph had gained a level of official authority over his brothers in the family’s shepherding and livestock business. He writes that the exact rendering of Genesis 37:2 indicates “that Joseph was charged with the superintendence of his brethren… Literally, he was tending, or acting the shepherd over, his brethren in the flock.” Furthermore, Joseph’s coat was not just a nice gift from his father, but it “was a symbol of the authority he was granted over his brothers. It would mark out Joseph as a ‘white collar worker’ while his brothers were mere ‘blue collar workers.’” He adds that, in this position, Joseph “was no tattletale. His report to his father would be a logical and necessary part of his function and authority as a supervisor.”
As much as Jacob favored Joseph, he would not have put Joseph in this supervisory position if he had not proven himself to be responsible and reliable. It was this fact that chafed at his older brothers. Like Cain, they grew hateful when someone else’s work was accepted and approved of. They should have heeded God’s words to Cain: “If thou do well, shalt thou not be accepted?”
The lesson for us today is this: instead of allowing ourselves to be infected by envy, we ought to focus all our energy on doing well so that our work might be accepted and approved of as well. Instead of being envious of what others have achieved, we ought to strive to achieve what God wants us to achieve in our station in life.
If you struggle with envy, take this passage to heart and take heed to it the next time you face that temptation.
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If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, May the Lord Bless You!
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.