James 3:16-18 – “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” NKJV
James 4:1-5 – “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?” NKJV
Envy and jealousy are close cousins and while jealousy may rip apart relationships envy can destroy lives and/or churches like few other things. When a person is envious it is, according to Merriam-Webster, “a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.” It is the feeling of wanting what someone else has or is perceived to have.
Envy appears in the Bible in Genesis 4 when Cain and Abel brought their offerings before God. Abel’s offering pleased the Lord but Cain’s did not and the resentment, envy, jealousy and anger took root in Cain’s heart and the result of envy was murder. In Numbers 12:1 we see it again when Miriam and Aaron, out of envy and jealousy, they used Moses marriage to a Cushite woman as their reason but the real reason was ENVY as revealed in 12:2, “…has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses?” Then in 1 Samuel 18 we find King Saul falling prey to envy when the people sang about David’s accomplishments and made Saul’s secondary and drove Saul to seek David’s life. Envy is a killer!
There are more problems with envy than we can enumerate in a short devotional but I want to hit the high-points and offer things for your consideration and further examination.
- The person most hurt by ENVY is You.
It eats you alive on the inside, gets in your head and won’t let you rest and damages your spirit so severely that you become consumed with the object of your envy. Proverbs 13 declares that ENVY is “rottenness to the bones.” Someone said, envy is not a weapon it is a boomerang. It hurts you far worse than the object of your envy.
- It produces a victim or scarcity mentality.
Envy assumes that the other person is winning or has won and you lose. It views the fortune of another as the misfortune of the one envying. It produces a mentality of being a victim or scarcity. It erroneously views God’s blessings as limited and demonstrates an attitude that if one is blessed another cannot be. Psalms 24:1 declares that “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” God is not limited but envy cannot see beyond lack and presumes that their lack is due to the scarcity of God’s blessings or ability and another has what you want or believe you deserve.
- It is the source of problems.
James tells us that ENVY leads to disorder and every kind of evil. It does not end with envy or lusting for what another has it opens the door for demonic forces of all kinds and will destroy relationships, churches, homes, business, schools and even nations. It is deadly and is a killer.
- It is an evidence we DO NOT TRUST God.
By the very presence of ENVY we tell God we do not trust Him. We scream at Him either through our attitude, tears or words that we deserve more and He is unfair and unkind by allowing someone else to have what we deserve. We will seek to take control and steer the ship of our lives without His guidance. We perceive we have been shorted, another has what we want and/or deserve thus ENVY takes root and destroys.
Through ENVY we destroy our relationship with others and with God. It is an evidence we do not trust God or believe Him. We see another with what we feel we should have and because we do not have it, at that moment, we blame, blame, blame everything including God but never ourselves. We ignore the reality that we may not be ready and this may not be for our best good. It is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life from which ENVY springs and grows. It kills everything it encounters.
God help us to not fall prey to ENVY and rejoice in who we are, who He is and what He has provided us at this time for this moment. Blessings as you go through this day!