DEALING WITH ENVY AND JEALOUSY
1 Peter 2:1-3. From the margin of the N.A.S. Bible we note that hypocrisy, envy and slander are in the plural. This means that we are to put aside all kinds of hypocrisies, envies and slanders. In other words, there are numerous ways we can envy, slander and be hypocritical.
Peter is addressing born again believers, those who have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Because we have tasted His kindness, we want to please our Lord and put off the old lifestyle and put on the new. This desire is put in us by the Holy Spirit Who is working in us, giving us both the will and the power to achieve his purpose. Philippians 2:13. J.B. Phillips Translation.
A DESCRIPTION OF ENVY: The strong displeasure towards the blessings, prosperity and advantage of others. It is to look at another’s property/possessions and want it. It is to have discomfort towards another because they have “it” and I don’t.
A DESCRIPTION OF JEALOUSY: It clings for dear life to someone or something, being afraid to lose them because they are mine.
Envy reaches out and longs for what is another’s, while jealousy hangs on for all its worth to what is mine.
ENVY AND JEALOUSY ARE EMOTIONS THAT ARE AN EXPRESSION OF SELF i.e. SELFISHNESS.
Romans 1:18-25 describes the origin of sin and in Verse 25 we read that man chooses to displace God and introduce himself (the creature) in His place.
Romans 1:28-32. When you have displaced God and placed self in the center, that place which uniquely belongs to God, one of the many emotional, fleshly problems you will have is envy.
An interesting fact. It was envy that motivated the Jews to have Jesus crucified. Mark 15:10; Matthew 27:18.
Mankind is willing to believe in God, but man wants to be where God is, that is, in the center of everything. Self busy running his own life and world. Luke 18:11 describes a Pharisee praying to himself ‘God, I thank you..’ Self was his god!
When God Himself came to earth and man was confronted by his Creator, they were envious of the God he saw. They were gripped with envy and wanted that place God rightfully holds. So envy acted and attempted to get rid of God by nailing Him to the cross. God was a threat to ‘the place’ that belonged to them.
Lucifer said ‘I will raise my throne above the throne of God… I will make myself like the Most High’. Isaiah 14:13-14; Ezekiel 28:17.
IMPORTANT. It is impossible to truly love someone that you are jealousy clinging to. The jealous husband, father, wife or mother can never truly love when they act as God by claiming sole rights to their possessions.
YOU CAN ONLY TRULY LOVE AND ENJOY SOMEONE ONCE YOU HAVE GIVEN THEM TO GOD FOR HIS KEEPING. He alone is God and is to be entrusted with our loved ones. Now the whole burden of looking after them is lifted off me and I am free to love and enjoy them.
Envy surfaces when self is challenged as being the center of our world or when self is threatened by someone who has more or is more successful than us. Envy drives people to try and make sure that no one has more than them or is better than them. It is that ugly feeling that motivates people to ‘keep up with the Jones’ to prove they can outdo anyone who threatens their position.
Envy is also found in Christian circles. Churches, TV ministries, etc. are motivated to be bigger, larger, better than everyone else. This is wrong motivation – it is envy in subtle disguise.
Paul experienced the same problem. Philippians 1:15-18. Some were proclaiming Christ from envy and strife – out of selfish ambition.
Envy has an amazing ability to find fault. It is the master critic that finds failings/faults of others more blessed or gifted than themselves to prove that others are not really better than them. The answer is to remove the threat by gossip. This happens at work, at home and also in ministry.
We should be content to be who God intends us to be. This frees us up to enjoy the blessings of the Lord. We are in competition with nobody else. We do not have to prove any point. We can be only who God created us to be.
IF ENVY IS NOT DEALT WITH, THE END RESULT COULD LEAD TO MURDER.
Genesis 4:1-8. Cain could not handle the fact that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and his was not. The fact of Abel having something he did not have caused Cain to brood and sulk. Sullen anger could have led to bouts of dark depression. Today, valium and drugs would be prescribed to solve the problem, but you cannot handle sin with a pill or denial.
Sin requires repentance. Finally envy so gripped Cain that he murdered his brother. He was trying in this way to get rid of the object of his envy. The result was a wasted life as a wanderer and a vagrant away from the presence of the Lord.
HOW DO WE GET FREE FROM ENVY? Or more directly, how do we get free from self – the source of bitterness, anger, unforgiveness and everything else.
FIRSTLY, we must admit what is wrong, what the real problem is. It is self living, doing its thing, self in the middle of our universe. We have to name and confess it to God as sin (missing the mark and dysfunctional).
SECONDLY, by faith we see that our dysfunctional, self-centered self was killed by Jesus when He nailed it to the cross with Himself in death.
When Jesus rose from the dead He gave us the good news of a new self – a new creation who has the power to be free from envy, jealousy and dysfunction. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The Lord Jesus died to put to death that self that thinks and acts as if it is at the center of the universe. Jesus shed His blood to cleanse us of the sin that self-centered self brings about. He rose again to restore that self to its proper place, a person submitted to God as the center of the universe and not a person at the center of their own universe.
WHEN A PERSON CHOOSES TO SUBMIT THEIR LIFE TO
With Jesus the Lord at the center of the universe, “I” now begins to live, not the self-centered “I” who was crucified with Christ, but the new “I” joined to Christ, who is submitted to their God and Creator. Our spiritual eyes are opened to see a true view of the universe where God is ruling, not self! Note the number of times Galatians 2:20. Paul uses “I”.
A FORMULA IS NOT THE ANSWER. E.G. ‘Do it this or that way and you will succeed and be free’. The solution is not in a formula but in a LIVING PERSON. At the new birth from above, Jesus actually comes into us by the Holy Spirit and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. Romans 5:5. I now have a new heart and can choose to put off the old lifestyle of envy and jealousy and learn the opposite of envy and jealousy which is loving God and my neighbor as my new self.
To be envious, jealous, unforgiving and bitter is a burden, a load and a grind.
Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me all those who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light.”
If we want the load of selfishness to be lifted off us, come and learn the new way of life from Jesus, which is being God-centered and not self-centered. Set free from unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, envy, jealousy and strife.
WITH A NEW CENTER TO MY LIFE I am now free to love, accept and acknowledge others as being better or having more than me, without being threatened or envious.
I AM FREE TO BE THE UNIQUE PERSON I AM CREATED TO BE.
I AM FREE TO SERVE OTHERS IN LOVE.
I AM FREE TO LIVE A LIFE THAT BRINGS GLORY TO GOD!