There is a children's story about a dog with a big, juicy bone crossing over a small footbridge. He stops long enough to gaze down into the pool of water beneath the bridge and sees what he believes is another dog with an even bigger bone!

Instead of being happy with what he has been given, he drops his bone and lunges forward to take the other dog’s bone. But there was no other dog and no other bone. What he saw was his own reflection in the water below. His entanglement with greed and deception caused him to lose what was precious to him.

Many people live their lives in this way. They look at what others have and want more than what they have been given. They allow themselves to be consumed with discontentment and jealousy, disastrous attitudes.

Similarly, Lot was jealous of Abraham. When the men decided to part ways, Lot insisted on settling in the cities of the plain near Jordan. The men could see from where they stood how rich and fertile the land was (see Genesis 13:10-11). Abraham humbly accepted the physically challenging land of Canaan. Lot's choice was one motivated by his greedy, self-centered desires, while Abraham was motivated by a sincere desire to follow God and live in peace. He believed God’s promises to bless him and make him into a great nation, and so he continued to worship the Lord in his new land (see Genesis 13:14-18).

Jealous for the best land, Lot settled near Sodom and suffered (see Genesis 14, 19:1-29). Selfishness, envy, and greed only lead to sorrow and defeat. If you have allowed envy to set up shop in your life, ask God to tear down this stronghold and forgive you for your faithlessness. He has a marvelous plan for your life; you do not need to envy the life of another.

Prayer: Lord, cleanse me from all thoughts of envy and greed. Teach me to be satisfied with Your blessings in my life and to pursue Your will and wisdom. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper” (Proverbs 28:25).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Counting Stars in an Empty Sky, Part 4: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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