Jealousy & Envy

Aug 01, 2014

What do Jealousy and envy look like?

Jealousy and envy are two words with very similar meanings. I like how Rory explains it in the chapter. “Envy occurs over something you want that somebody else has, while jealousy occurs in trying to protect what you already have against a rival.” It’s kinda weird thinking of different scenarios where that occurs because they’re so similar, almost interchangeable. The easiest way for me to understand the difference is by thinking of the character of God. We are told God is a jealous God. This means he already has us but is trying to protect us from a rival (that’s our sin). Of course, because it’s from our God, this is a healthy jealousy but I think it paints a clearer picture of the difference.

Why is it bad?

Jealousy and envy are stepping stones to further sins. We see it in the story of Cain and Abel, we see it with Joseph’s brothers, and we even see it with King David and Bathsheba. It might start as an angry thought, escalate into total jealousy or envy, and next thing you know, we’re acting on those angry thoughts. Our actions are a result of what we’re filling our hearts with. If we’re filling our hearts with anger, jealousy, envy, and hate, we are going to act out of hate and be full of bitterness. If we fill our hearts with love, compassion, and kindness it will result in Christ-like living.

1 Timothy 1:5 says, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

What can we do about it?

If we have total faith that God has placed us exactly where he wants us, with the exact gifts he wants us to have, at the exact moment in time that he has us in, what is there to be jealous of? Our insecurities lead to jealousy and envy. Our lack of faith and trust lead us to question if God is really in control. We wonder if He’s taking a break for a little while our world spins out of control or our enemies triumph over us. THAT’S NOT THE CASE. God knows exactly what He’s doing with your life. There is a reason and a purpose. Wherever you are in life is exactly where God wants you to be, it’s just a matter of being a faithful servant where you are and with the GIFTS he has given you.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” -Matthew 25:14-30

We are to be faithful servants and good stewards with the gifts God has given us. These gifts are not our own. Just like in the parable they were the masters talents, our gifts are God given meant to be used to further his kingdom and give the glory to him. Each gift was given to us according to what we can handle. Some people are going to be more talented than others but it doesn’t make them better. If we’re good stewards of what God has given us, we leave no room for jealousy and envy in our hearts. If we viewed ourselves as God views us jealousy and envy wouldn’t even exist. If we realized we are instruments of God’s mercy, grace, and love to be used to give him glory; to spread the news of the gospel; to tell people the message of a kingdom that will not be shaken, then we would be nothing but faithful servants. Then we would know that God has us right where he wants us.

Your Turn

How do you get rid of jealous and envious thoughts?

What does being a faithful servant look like to you?


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