At the beginning of this series I spoke about what Love is and expanded on some of the facets of love such as patience and kindness. For the next two weeks I will be talking about what love is not and how we can overcome the very things that do not represent love.
The Bible talks about envy and highlights this as being something that love is not.
“…Love does not envy…”
~ I Corinthians 13:4 ~
The Oxford Dictionary says that envy is a feeling of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
Envy is an emotion that all women may have experienced at some point in their lives whether you desire the possessions or qualities of another or you find yourself disliking and comparing yourself to other females.
Do you ever feel some type of way when someone achieves something good? Then you may be struggling with envy.
I remember when I was in primary school, my best friend at the time told me that she used scissors to cut the lips off of her cousins brand new doll because she wasn’t happy that she was not brought one. This is envy.
When I first got saved I did not understand why people who did not know God appeared to be living life and prospering. As far as I was concerned I was doing everything right, however these people were excelling more than me. I began to question God and he directed me to David. David experienced a time in his life where he was having similar thoughts to me.
“For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
~ Psalms 73:3 ~
The last few verses of this chapter David then goes on to understand that despite his feelings towards people who were prospering, it was in his best interest to draw near to God and to trust Him. (Psalms 73:28).
Envy is a work of the flesh:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:…envy…of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
~ Galatians 5:19, 21 ~
Envy is a toxic emotion and those who partake in it are led by their flesh. It is also a sign of carnality and limits your growth.
Many heart issues spring from envy and it does no good when you allow it to take its toll. It can breed a number of other emotions, for example covetousness, anger, resentment and a competitive spirit. Envy will also ruin relationships and diminish good character.
“A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.”
~ Proverbs 14:30 ~
Look at the story of Joseph and his brothers in the book of Genesis. When Joseph told his family about his dreams the Bible says that his brothers envied him (Genesis 37:11). They then conspired against him to kill him (Genesis 37:18) before selling him into slavery.
This story tells us that envy can play out within our relationships, whether it be a sibling, friend or spouse.
Another example of envy in the Bible is the story of Saul. Saul was envious of David (1 Samuel 18:6-9) and was led by the desire to be on top. This resulted in him resenting David. Sadly this attitude can also be found in the church today.
So why do people envy others?
You may become envious of others when you are solely focused on self, or when you have measured your sense of self against another person. Such feelings stem from deep rooted insecurities.
“Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
~ Galatians 5:26 ~
Another cause of envy may be when we compare our lives to others. Checkout my blog post Stay In Your Lane:
When you compare yourself to others you will slowly start to envy others. This will only lead to discontentment because you will always want what what other people have.
When you are dissatisfied with your life and what God has given you, you will begin to envy others. You will always be longing for the possessions or qualities of others.
So how can we overcome envy so that it does not overcome us?
1. Check Your Heart.
Whenever you find yourself feeling some type of way when something good happens to somebody else. This is the best time to check your heart.
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”
~ 2 Corinthians 13:5 ~
If envy is something that you personally struggle with then this is something that you have to deal with now. Seek God’s love and ask Him to guide you.
“And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
~ Psalms 139:24 ~
2. Walk In The Spirit.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
~ Galatians 5:16 ~
In a world where social media is prevalent it is easy to fall into the temptation of becoming carnally minded.
So what do you do?
Continue to feed your Spirit. As Christians we are called to love one another. In order to love others our desire should be to walk in the Fruit of the Spirits.
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,”
~ 1 Peter 2:1-2 ~
Jesus says that loving others is one of the most important commandments. Paul highlights we should abide in faith, hope and love and specifies that the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). If we walk in Love there will be no provision for any toxic emotions.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.””
~ 1 Peter 4:8 ~
4. Celebrate People’s Success.
Begin to be happy about other people’s success especially when you see they are doing something for God. Be intentional and take time to congratulate them.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
~ Romans 12:15 ~
5. Trust In God.
When you trust in God you will trust in the portion that He has given you. You will trust in His plan for your life and you will come to terms with the fact that He has not forgotten about you.
By trusting God you will be satisfied with what you have, because you will know that what you have is truly from Him.
6. Get Motivated.
Let people’s success be the motivation you need to do better. There is no need to resent someone because they are in a certain position. See it as inspiration. God has blessed you with your own unique gifts and talents. Let this be the driving force that causes you to be great.
Stay blessed and encouraged.