I’m sick of envy! Aren’t you? I mean, it’s really a gross and destructive thing. I’m tired of entertaining envy or jealousy in my own heart and I don’t like it when someone is envious of me. It creates an uncomfortable, awkward and potentially bitter atmosphere that easily takes the focus off of being thankful for what God is doing in someone’s life; sometimes to the extent that the person receiving a blessing from God doesn’t even want to share it for fear of jealous response. This should not happen among followers of Jesus! While we all have had times of participating in envy, jealousy and coveting (to desire what belongs to another), we have to realize that it is sin, it is destructive, and we should not tolerate it being in our hearts.
What Do We Envy?
Most people are envious of something. About someone else getting married, having a child, their job or salary. Material items like a house, car or t.v. Someone’s particular gifting or skills that God has given them. Someone’s ability to be funny, thoughtful, creative. The list is endless.
Why Do We Envy?
First off, it’s easy to envy when it comes from an impure heart (Mark 7:21-23). I also think envy and jealousy easily creep in when we do not have an attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude to God for who He is, for what He has done for us, and for the blessings He has given us. Focusing on blessings God has given to others, rather than on what God is doing in your own life, is an easy way to become thankless and get into the mindset of, “God, what have You done for me lately?” This is a breeding ground of envy.
What Does the Bible Say About Envy & Jealousy?
–Just Don’t Do It!
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17
“Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.” Job 5:2
–It’s the Opposite of Love!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
What Can We Do About It?
First, we need to identify that we do have an issue with envy. We need to realize that it is a sin, it is destructive; it breaks our fellowship with God and with others. Next, we have to want to repent from it…and then actually repent. The Greek word the Bible uses for repentance is metanoia. It means “to change one’s mind; a transformative change of heart.”
+What have you been jealous or envious about? What have you been coveting?
+Are you willing to see that the behavior is destructive and are you ready to turn from it?
+Will you make a commitment to replace envy with thanksgiving?
God, please forgive me for entertaining envy, jealousy, and covetousness in my heart. I repent from these things and turn back to a godly mindset. Help me to daily be thankful for who You are, for how You have redeemed me, and for the many, many, many blessings You have given me. Give me a heart of thanksgiving for the wonderful things you have done for me and for others. Help me to be a cheerleader for others when You do something awesome in their life….as opposed to becoming envious and bitter about it. Amen.