My wife and I were reading both books by this author, Tilly Dillehay, over the weekend on the Lord’s Day: one on the sin of envy, this one, and one on wrong relationships with food, Broken Bread. In it, Dillehay distinguishes the sin of covetousness and envy. With the first, we want what another has; with the second, we not only want what another has, we don’t want them to have it if we can not.
Both are wicked and I know I am guilty of some form of one or both at some point.
The way she wraps the book’s examination under scriptural structure, God’s creation, and our wrong heart about receiving what God has in fact given us (as opposed to wanting what God has not provided) provides a way to see the permutations of when and how this sin comes out in our lives.
We might not suffer from envy at all times. We might not be bothered about someone else’s great house one day, and then are another. We might be completely content with our spouse one day and then have seeds of discontent another because we see someone else’s. Human beings are sinners and will either struggle against it if a Christian or be a slave to it if not.
Life is not fair.
Who are we, made from dust, to speak back to the Lord Almighty, our Creator, and tell him he was wrong in how he distributes and knits together the comings and goings of life on Earth until Jesus comes again?
What is very important about Dillehay’s book is not just the subject matter itself. It is not just the personal style that she uses to reflect and represent this sin as it plays (or has played) out in her life or ours, and there are myriad great examples in the book. It is that there is so much scripture throughout the book to frame her point, focus the reader on the truth that although we should be silent before God and His providence, He has spoken and has told his people how they should think and that we should trust Him and His judgments.
There is hope for those who are in Christ to be saved from all their sin and be sanctified. In Christ, there is hope of life eternal and freedom from the slavery of envy (and all other sins). In fact, it is ONLY in Christ is there hope to be saved from your sins and have forever life with God.
To riff of the Ray Comfort model of evangelizing, I want to put forth these questions:
- Have you ever stolen anything, ANYTHING, no matter of its value or size?
- Have you ever lied, even one lie at the age of 10?
- Have you ever lusted after a man or woman?
- Have you ever used the Lord’s name in vain?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, and everyone will, it means you and I are sinners before a Holy God who demands justice be paid for all sin against Him. We deserve death and hell. But God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to take on the sin of those who believe. Those who trust the sufficient death of Christ on the cross are given forgiveness from their sins and life eternal and have an advocate before the Father. Only Jesus lived a perfect life under the law of God. God demands perfections, but only Christ lived with no sin. This is the only way. Jesus said he was the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). Only in Christ can we have hope of redemption from our sins such as envy, lust, blasphemy, lying, etc.
What I laid out just above is what Dillehay writes about in her book. ‘Seeing Green’ is not only challenging, it is also encouraging because she knows that Christ is enough to redeem us and to cover our own guilt of envy and other sins. I look forward to reading Tilly Dillehay’s other book, Broken Bread, next.