We would never fall prey to the evil working of envy if we didn’t make comparisons. Think back to when you were a child in kindergarten. In my class they had to teach us to share. We played in stations around the room. Why did we grab what another child had? We envied what they were playing with. See how young this can seed into our hearts?
Envy is another area we need our Father to reparent us in. Genesis 37:11 says that Joseph’s brothers envied him. That envy became destructive. Haman envied Mordcai and sought to have him hanged on gallows. The wise men were jealous of Daniel and sought a way to kill him.
Envy will take a toll on our health. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A sound heart is the life of the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” Our bones support us. Envy weakens them. Osteoporosis is a big health risk factor. What happens when envy gets into the body of Christ? There is backbiting and division.
Galatians 5:14-15 says, “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.” Envy in interpersonal relationships is destructive. 1 Peter 2:1 says, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.” We lay aside by putting off. I love Paul’s example. Acts 28:5 says that when the viper fastened onto his hand, “But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.”
We need to shake off envy the second that thought comes into our mind. We do it through gratefulness. Discontent breeds envy. The Hebrew word for envious means: highly possessive of something. This can happen in friendships. Say that you have a close friend. They become friends with someone else. What happens? We can either be envious, or we can rejoice that they have found someone else to share their life with. Friends need to be shared.
The Lord gave me a special friend in 1983. She was a temp where I worked. We were in the break room. I said to my friend, “Hey Maile, do you want to go to His Word (bookstore) with me during our lunch hour?” The temp piped up, “I’d like to go with you.” I literally shared my friend, and made a new friend in the process.
Another way to break the power envy seeks is to give. In Acts 10:33 Paul said, “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.” Verse 35 says, “…And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When we focus on what others have that we want, envy will seed itself into our heart. However, when we give out of what we have, we increase the life of another.