You can gaze over the fence and covet another person’s life or tell yourself that God has blessed you in ways you never could have earned.
Envy is not mentioned in either the old or new testaments, yet it is singled out as a moral failing particularly to be avoided by Christians. Envy is a sin of jealousy over the blessings and achievements of others.
Have you ever wondered why someone else’s life seems easier than yours? Have you ever struggled to celebrate the blessings of someone else who had what you thought you needed? Have you ever wished you could just switch lives with someone?
What is your thoughts on envy and jealousy?
Perhaps there are ways in which envy haunts us all, so it’s worth examining the heart of envy. What things prepare the heart for envy?
- Envy is forgetful. In concentrating on what we don’t have that we think we should have, we fail to keep in mind the huge catalog of blessings that are ours simply because God has chosen to place his bountiful love on us. This forgetfulness causes us to do more comparing and complaining than praising and resting.Do you toil and struggle with thoughts of comparing others and being critical of others? If not now, how have you experienced such times in the past? How have you dealt with those such situations?
- Envy misunderstands blessing. So often envy is fueled by misunderstanding what God’s care looks like. It is not always the care of provision, relief, or release.
Sometimes God’s blessing comes in the form of trials that are his means of giving us things we could get no other way.
Do you have some examples in your own life where you had been blessed through trials?
- Envy is selfish. Envy tends to put us in the center of our own worlds. It tends to make everything about our comfort and ease, our wants, needs, and feelings, and not about the plan and the glory of the God we serve.As the Serenity Prayer puts it: Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is; Not as I would have it;
- Envy is self-righteous. Envy has an “I deserve _____ more than they do” posture to it. It forgets that we all deserve immediate and eternal punishment, and that any good thing we do have is an undeserved gift from God’s amazing grace.
- Envy is shortsighted. Envy has a right here, right now aspect to it that overlooks the fact that this moment is not all there is. Envy cannot see that this moment isn’t meant to be a destination, but a final preparation for a final destination that will be beautiful beyond our wildest imagination.
- Envy questions God’s wisdom. When you and I envy, we tend to buy into the thought that we are smarter than God. In envy, we tend to think we know more and better, and if our hands were on the joystick, we would be handling things in a different way.
- Envy is impatient. Envy doesn’t like to wait. Envy complains quickly and tires easily. Envy doesn’t just cry for blessings; it cries for blessings now.
What is devastating about envy is that it questions God’s goodness, and when you do that, you quit running to him for help. So cry out for rescue — that God would give you a thankful, humble, and patient heart. His transforming grace is your only defense against envy.
For further reference: Psalm 34