Proverbs 14:30 – “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” NIV
Depending on the translation we find this rendered “sound, peaceful, and tranquil.” We can look at it in the natural and the spiritual and glean benefits from both views. In the natural, a ‘sound, tranquil, and peaceful’ heart identifies a heart that is functioning properly circulating blood throughout the body which is essential for life, health, and healing in the natural. A heart that is not stressed with labor or worry is a strong benefit in natural longevity but if the heart is diseased and weak life will not be long experienced and the life experience, in the natural, will be limited and restricted.
But when we consider the entire sentence, we realize that although this can be applied to the natural heart it goes far beyond that to the spiritual condition or core of man identified as the Heart. I have long been convinced that if our spiritual hearts are not whole and healthy resting in the Peace of God that passes human comprehension the natural man suffers as well. I find the correlation between natural health and spiritual health taught in the Bible unmistakable and powerful both as a caution and a promise or a hope.
A “heart at peace” gives life to the body. The Shalom of God strips the devil of his power to cause us to ‘fret’ and ‘worry’ over circumstances of life and helps us to ‘rest’ confidently in the Lord. It enables us to become people who not only can but actually Wait on the LORD.
Paul identifies this kind of heart when he declared, Philippians 4:11-13, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This is the heart that is not in turmoil but is content and confident that God is God, and He Will Not Fail! That heart pumps life into the body both naturally and spiritually.
The contrast to a heart of peace is the heart filled with Envy which leads to Covetousness and rots the bones. I have been told that there are two kinds of Envy. There is the benign and there is the malicious. I am not sure that I can accept that in total, but they argued that “Benign Envy” was healthy and productive for it motivated the individual to perform at a higher level and seek the coveted position desired.
On the other hand, they contended that “Malicious Envy” was destructive for it prompted and prodded the one envying to attempt to destroy the one they envy. It seeks to level the playing field by ‘tearing down’ rather than building up self. It is cancerous in its nature and spreads not only throughout the body with destructive chemical releases in the brain and body but infects others and becomes a root that defiles.
The Bible offers several passages about the malignancy or rotting effect of iniquity and the absence of peace in a heart. Leviticus 26:39 speaks of “rotting because of iniquity.” Proverbs 10:7 reveals that “The memory of the righteous will be blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.” Envy is rooted in Covetousness and Covetousness is the root of virtually every sin man commits.
The Ten Commandments can be understood in the last commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Covet.” Adam and Eve coveted God’s position based on the inference and lies of the serpent. They wanted to “be as God” and in their disobedience, they “Fired God” or “Voted Him Out” as the Sovereign of the Universe and installed themselves as the center of their universe. That separated them from God and resulted in the decay of their flesh and they began the process of decay.
Rottenness in the bones and as Psalm 112:10 states is revealed when the Righteous Prosper the Wicked see it. They become envious or grieved in their hearts and it causes such anxiety of heart that they waste away physically and spiritually.
Let me ask the question that Paul asked that, in my view, ties this up in a neat package and affords freedom powerfully. He asked in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “…What do you have that you did not receive?” Every Good and Perfect Gift comes from God and if we have nothing that we did not receive from Him, why are we envious of others? That envy is misplaced anger toward God. We are jealous and envious of others which is an expression that we believe God either blew it or is not just and either produces rottenness in our hearts and bones and eats away at our peace leaving us destitute and hopeless.
God, bless you richly as you enjoy what He has placed in your hands and I urge you to be faithful in a few things and He will, in His time, grant you many things. Blessings!