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Love Is The Cure For Envy

1004641_987540161 Corinthians 13:4 (NET) “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NASB) “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,”

Depending on which translation of the bible you prefer you will often see the words jealous and envious interchanged with the other. The reason of course is both words can have similar negative meanings.

As the dictionary describes:

  • Jealousy : an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has.
  • Envy : painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage

But the word jealousy here is not to be confused with the positive use of the word when the bible says, God is a jealous God and even His name is Jealous.” (Ex. 34:14), and the same thing was meant by Paul in (2 cor. 11:2) when he said, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.”  

So it is obvious there is a difference between a godly jealousy and an ungodly jealousy. The ungodly jealousy is what can also be interpreted as envy. God’s type of jealousy wants to protect us and the ungodly jealousy wants to possess us.

The type of jealousy that is similar to envy is what the bible also refers to as the root cause of disorder and evil in this world.

James 3:16 (NASB) “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”

So, when we are jealous or envious we are allowing something to operate in our lives that works in direct opposition to love and against what God wants in our lives. It is not something we want to play around with. There is a reason for the phrases “green with envy,” and “green-eyed monster.” Those phrases give the idea of being filled with sickness. And that’s what it is, envy and jealousy is a sickness.

  • Envy is a sickness that is shallow and self-centered. It’s all about us and what we want with little or no concern for others.
  • Envy is subtle and sly. We would be surprised by how often we are envious and jealous if we really examined our thoughts and our motives.
  • Envy starts with our thoughts and takes hold in our heart. When we allow it to take hold of our hearts it becomes a bitter sickness that is hard to get free of.
  • Envy kills. If we allow it to remain it will kill our relationships, our opportunities  and our own lives.  

Love is the cure

Jesus said there are two great commandments. Love God and love one another. He said all of the law would be fulfilled if we did those two things. In other words when we love the way He commands us to love we are fulfilling God’s righteous standard. If we love, we will not kill. If we love we will not steal. If we love we will not commit adultery. And if we love we will not covet what others have.

So what do you do when you find yourself feeling jealous and having envious thoughts? You turn your love toward the other person or situation.

  • Use your love as a weapon. Use love to counter attack the situation. Use love to move away from self awareness and become more others aware.
  • Pray for the other people’s well-being. When you pray for someone else’s well-being you are aligning yourself and your will with God’s will.
  • Do something good to bless those you are feeling jealous toward. Your actions will move your thoughts and feelings toward a more loving position.
  • Rejoice and be glad for other people’s blessings. God is not running short on blessings. He has enough for them and you too.

We need help

Lastly, we cannot live up to God’s standard of love on our own. Anytime we find ourselves acting in an unloving way such as thinking envious thoughts toward others, we should surrendered that to the Lord. We need to repent from it and ask God for His help.

The change in how we feel may not take place right away and we might still have to fight off those feelings and thoughts, but we have to stay persistent. And always keep in mind that it’s not about our failure and our weakness. Those are the reasons we needed a savior in the first place. The important thing to remember is, it’s His perfect love we are wanting in our lives and the only way we are going to have it is with His help working in us.

Question: Do you ever struggle with jealousy and envy? I know I still do sometimes. Feel fee to share in our comments. We would love to hear from you.

5 comments

  1. Nathan N. says:

    Good article. I especially like, “God is not running short on blessings. He has enough for them and you too.”. That is where I struggle with envy. It starts with the belief that God cannot give me something that I long for, is followed by the understand that He does have that ability when He blesses someone else in the same way, and leads to a feeling of having been overlooked and the misconception that God gave them what He could have given me (so that it was “taken” by them). I know what the truth is, but it is far more than an intellectual hurtle. It is a wrong belief about God’s heart toward me and is built on the fear that I will not be taken care of unless I make it happen. I know that God will bring to the place where I am not suspicious of Him and where I can trust that He loves me and is taking care of me regardless of the care that He shows other people.

  2. jackandjanet says:

    Nathan, thanks for sharing with us. I know exactly how you feel. I have certainly struggled with some of the same feelings and thoughts. And yes I think it really comes down to trusting in His love for us and His desire to take care of us.
    Jack

  3. Bert says:

    I am struggling with envy over the relationship and experiences that my husband shared with his ex wife. I constantly question why I could not have met him first, does he love her more than me, and I am always searching for physical evidence that he loves me more now. We live in their old house and I have to pray several times a day to not be consumed by my jealousy that he and I may never have our own house. I certainly acknowledge that my feelings are wrong but it is a daily battle to suppress them and to keep my envy from saying inappropriate things to my husband

    • jackandjanet says:

      I understand where you are coming from and I’m sure many people deal with this is some form or another. Many woman and men have had to learn to deal with this issue and overcome it. Envy is a hard thing and it can rob you of what you have with your husband. Envy can steal your peace, your joy and your security and make you bitter. It can make you see things that are not there and make you feel things that are not true. It can rob you of a happy marriage and destroy it. We all have had to deal with I wish I was your first, but that show insecurities on our part. Does he give you reasons to feel this way? He married you and if he didn’t love you I’m thinking he wouldn’t have married you. As for the house make it your own. Ask him if you can redecorate, paint it, do something that makes it belong to the both of you. If you do this I believe there will come a time when you will either claim it as yours or God will give you the desires of your heart for a new one. But until then you have to make it your. Maybe right now it is not economically safe to sell and buy. Just know God sees your heart and He doesn’t want you to envy anything. You are probably making him weary by asking all these questions if he loves you more and why you didn’t meet him first. He probably is thinking I wish I had meet you first and I do love you more than anything; you have to believe what he says to you. Be the person he married, be happy that you have him in your life right now. You have got to stop making him pay for being married before. I’m gonna ask you something.. what if something happened to him today and you never see him again. What would you be thinking and feeling if that happened? Your heart would be in such sorrow because you didn’t enjoy your marriage, there would be thoughts of I wish I had not been so worried and just love the life I had with this man. You are missing out on so much in your marriage by feeling this way. You have a choice to change this. Choose what you will serve, envy or to love and be the happiest people around. You choose. Sincerely Janet

      • brett says:

        Thank you,
        You are certainly
        right on all counts. Thank you for your guidance, sometimes an outside perspective can make things seem so clear.

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