Shopping catalogs and glossy magazines are "tools of Satan" because they create envy, said Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren. "Envy is no longer one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Envy is a marketing tool," he said.
Warren shared his thoughts in a teaching podcast, Evicting Envy From Your Heart, which is part of his Life You Were Meant To Live series. Society is rampant with envy, Warren said. "The Bible tells us envy is a root of every other sin. It can destroy everything and everyone around you."
The entire consumer marketing industry is built on jealousy, he said in a Christian Today article. "Everything we do is to create envy. Satan has these tools called catalogs, that create envy."
Cain killed his brother Abel because of jealousy, Warren added, noting that envy is a waste of time and energy. "Envying someone else's life is a minute you are wasting of your own life. You are wasting the life God gave you while you try to live someone else's life."
"Do you know why Jesus was crucified on the Cross?" Warren posed. "It tells us twice in the Scripture. It was for envy that the priest took him to Pilate to be arrested. Envy put Jesus on the Cross. The religious leaders were envious of his popularity."
Envy can even become a form of worship, he posed. "Any time you want to live for something, you are worshipping it. And any time that is not God, it becomes an idol."
Writing on his blog, Warren quotes Ecclesiastes: "It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else."
He advocates an attitude of gratitude, and said happiness is a choice. "If you're not happy now, you're not going to be happy with more. I could give many testimonies of people who have a lot more than you, and it doesn't make them happier. You are as happy as you choose to be."
But Warren also clarifies that this doesn't mean Christians shouldn't desire things.
"Envy is not desire. Desire is good. Envy is not ambition. Ambition is good. You ought to be ambitious and work for good things in your life. Envy is not a dream. You ought to have a dream in your life. Envy is not setting goals. Dreams, ambitions, goals, and desires are all things that God puts in you.
"Envy is resenting other people who have something already and thinking that you can't be happy until you get it, too. Both of those are lies. Instead, learn to be grateful for who you are and what you have. Everything you have is a gift from God!"