Envy And Jealousy

James 3:16

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Prov 3:31-32

Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways,  for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.

Prov 6:34-35

For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.   He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

Prov 14:30

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

Prov 23:17-18

Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Prov 24:1-2,19,20

Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble…Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

Prov 27:4

Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?

Two of the terrible grinds in life are envy and jealousy.   They rob us of peace.  We often pray for the much coveted blessings of peace and joy from God, yet ironically we chase these blessings away through our own sinful desires.

There is a difference between Envy and Jealousy. Envy is like a man with his hands empty of achievements or possessions that he desires and he finds it hard to swallow about people who have what he does not have at the moment. Jealousy is like a man having full of achievements or possessions in his hands, yet he worries about losing out to others who are fast “catching up”, or he is not happy with others having more than him.

The jealous guy will always occupy his position without giving up.  He will always strive to have more.  He will always strive to stay ahead with a very competitive attitude.  He will grind himself into a nervous wreck without pausing to learn to enjoy all the intangible things like relationship, friendship, nature and arts.

The envious guy will curse, not bless, others hoping in his or her heart that others will lose their possessions one day.   He will strive to attain these achievements or possessions in the shortest possible time. He is so sewn up with himself because he feels bitter towards all who have what he does not have (unlike the jealous guy who only has that sour taste in his mouth with few in his circle).

Sadly we see envy and jealousy even in Christian ministry today.

When a brother is wise, he invites irrational backbiting.

When a brother is capable in his ministry, he invites undermining.

When a brother shares his testimony of receiving God’s amazing providence in his life, he invites disbelief.

There is no meaningful ministry for a believer consumed by envy and jealousy for a Christian knows to be the greatest in God’s kingdom, he has to be the least and servant of all.

Envy and jealousy eat away at one’s soul. Our Lord Jesus has exhorted in so many parables to be rich towards God and not towards things, and to store treasure in heaven rather than accumulate perishable treasure on earth.  True peace and joy is only found in our Lord.   Rom 14:17.

One who succumbs to envy and jealousy and pursue the world is at enmity with God.  He cannot be a true disciple who has to surrender all idols to God and let God reign in his life.

Contentment with godliness is the only antidote. 1 Tim 6:6-10.  Contentment freeds us from greed which will consume us and anxiety which will torment us.

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