Envy arises out of discontent. Two ingredients operate with this evil – lack and greed. Proverbs 24:1 warns us not to envy what the evil natured have and to stay away from their lifestyles. Proverbs informs us of the dangers of envy on our bodies and the fruits of a peaceful heart.
Envy starts when we take our eyes off the road and examine what others have. Culture makes voyeurism an addictive habit for anyone with an electronic gadget and access to the internet. From my Facebook and Twitter accounts, it’s easy to believe that life is one big, positive party. However, I’m here to let you know that you can be your life’s best, and God through Jesus Christ is how. Social media are the tools I use.
Voyeurism and assumptions are true of a lot of people’s experiences. What we see, hear and believe is but a fraction of an individual’s life. I remember being mad at God one day for blessing someone who in my opinion lived to hurt others. I couldn’t believe the rain of good gifts that flooded this individual’s life – especially because s/he attributed everything to chance. God kindly reminded me of His nature and from this the love He has for this individual. I was ashamed. Why would I not want good things for this person? I was responding to envy.
If you have the Lord in your heart you can turn envy into a tool. Like a good farmer, pluck weeds from your garden before they choke your plants. Do this by fostering gratitude, focus and hard work. If your grateful for your life and what you have, you’re content. There’s no time to envy anyone. You’ll also recognize the source of envy and see what you can do about it.
If your envious of someone’s career success, what are you doing with your free talents? Of another’s family, are you becoming the kind of person one would want to marry? Of someone’s health, what are you doing to ensure yours is at its prime?
Look at what you envy and turn that mirror image into a personal challenge. What must I do for myself to become content? Pray for guidance and ask God to open your eyes to His word and teaching. I promise you’ll find no greater teacher than the one who made you.
Continuation of envy leads to rot. The fruits are seen in our lives and those we meet. It’s hard for an envious person to be genuinely happy for another. Their words of praise are filtered with a but. “But I can do a better job, but s/he got a lot of help, but it was given to her/him, but s/he started off with a lot of money, but s/he didn’t have to work as hard…” Look for that in yourself. Do you finish your sentences with a but?
An envious person lives in self-pity. There’s reasons why s/he can’t fulfill a task yet we know this to be untrue because we’re told that, “no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Cor).” God’s promise is found in 2 Cor 12:9 that His grace is sufficient and His power made perfect in our weakness. For a believer, there’s no excuse for envy to grow in our hearts.
As our hearts determine our new idols we step out of God’s will. King David for all his wealth envied another man’s wife. We see what that desire did as one sin led to another. His punishment included the death of his child – all needless pain.
Don’t allow envy to command the space in your heart that caters to joy. It isn’t worth it. Pluck that weed now.