e-devotionals.org 2003-12-03 - Envy

Fatal Distractions Series, Part 6

“Do not envy others - it only leads to harm.” Psalm 37: 8 (NLT)

An accurate understanding of the word covet is essential for this study. The Hebrew word is desire, which is not sin in itself; the key distinction is that when something owned by someone else is what I want, desiring becomes coveting or envying.

Jealousy makes us fear to lose what we own; envy creates grief and unhappiness that others have something that we do not possess. Both are destructive.

Why is Envy so Deadly?

Envy Causes Relational Conflict

“Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you.” James 4: 1 (New Century)

Envy is a selfish desire that causes us to want what others have, without any effort on our part. One response to envy is to jab at those who have something we desire. We put others down in order to build ourselves up.

Envy Leads to Other Sins

"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3: 16 (NIV))

The more we delve into the “Seven Deadly Sins,” the more evident it becomes that they are deadly due to causing even more sins to enter our lives. Similar to procrastination last week, we may wonder, “what is the big deal about envy?” We rationalize envy as being a “private” matter. What are some envious desires in the Bible that caused sin? What are current examples of envy causing us to sin?

Envy Brings on Misery

“A relaxed attitude lengthens life; jealousy rots it away.” Proverbs 14: 30 (NLT)

It is well known today that when our minds are stressed less and more relaxed, it has positive physical health benefits. Envy creates stress and strain that not only eats away at our mental and physical health, but also at our spiritual health as well. Let’s look at how we can overcome envy.

How Can We Defeat Envy?

Don’t Compare

“Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others.” Galatians 6: 4 (Contemporary English)

Be content with your best. We can only know when we have done our best. What we perceive as someone else doing better than us is not for us to determine. How does the world attempt to make us compares ourselves to others?

Stop Complaining

God says, "How much longer are these wicked people going to complain against me? I have heard enough of these complaints!” Numbers 14: 27 (TEV)

I imagine God tires of our complaints, just as we become annoyed with others’ complaining. Energy we expend complaining is best spent doing what God has planned for us. How do you feel when you are around someone that constantly complains?

We Are One of a Kind

“You (God) created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139: 13 (TEV)

To grasp this truth is a huge step toward living with less envy, and instead, being joyful with whom God wired you up to be.

Learn to be Content

“Enjoy what you have, rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it’s like chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 6: 9 (New Living)

Contentment is the antidote to envy. Learning to be thankful for what we have, and stop stressing over what we do not posses, breaks the chains of envy.

Value Loving Other People

“When others are happy, be happy with them.” Romans 12: 15 (NLT)

Be deliberate with how you react to others around that are happy. Do you feel happy when someone around you receives something that you yourself would like to have?

Focus on Pleasing God

“Keep your minds fixed on things above, not on things here on earth.” Colossians 3: 2 (Today’s English)

What do people envy about you? Do people envy your love for Christ or your love of the world? What do you envy about others?

What reminder can you use this week, to trust your reputation to God each day?

David Massey

[email david] david@e-devotionals.org