greg_gordon — 2017-09-27T08:36:27-04:00 — #1
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. - Philippians 2:6
When we are looking to progress in our understanding of the Lord we must look to the heart and what dwells within. Of all the least talked about sins in our day, Envy is near the top of the list. Perhaps one of the greatest roots of envy is the jealously that God is God and we are not. Such evil desires that desires more then what is given or deserved becomes a distortion of love and therefore is the opposite of love. Thomas Aquinas says of Envy: "Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life. Charity rejoices in our neighbor's good, while envy grieves over it."
Envy is as old as Adam and Eve. Their firstborn son Cain envied Abel and killed him over extreme jealously. Cain envied Abel because God favored Abel's sacrifice over Cain's. Envy defiles a person and makes them hideous always seeking to put down others that they may be exalted. Of course this is not how it looks on the outside, it can even appear holy but inwardly the desires are evil. Saul envied David (1 Samuel 18:5-9). Isaac, envied the Philistines (Genesis 26:12-16).
Envy cannot dwell with true godliness but with only that which is false, unspiritual and demonic (James 3:13-16). John R. Stott says, "Envy! Envy is the reverse side of a coin called vanity. Nobody is ever envious of others who is not first proud of himself."
We can envy one's wealth, position, fame, title, honour, health, possessions and many other things. Only Christ who was the one that walked in true humility and did not even count his status as the Son of God important, but humbled himself to death and did not envy but died and emptied himself.
In God's kingdom when we empty ourselves we are filled, when we die we live, when we humble ourselves we are exalted. When we envy we destroy ourselves. The holy Apostle Peter tells us to "put away envy" (1 Peter 2:1). Strike it away from yourself, be violent with such evil desires that arise in you.
Have a remedy also for this poison of the heart. When someone is exalted rejoice! When you are lowered rejoice. Never desire anothers exaltation but rejoice that they have been blessed of God and praise God for such a thing. Be content with the gifts God has given you, the Heavenly Father is wise and all-knowing in what He has entrusted you with.
Sadly when we envy we follow the error also of satan who envied the very throne of God but was cast down in judgment. Let our dying to envy show the evil one and all demons that we are of those who obey Jesus and are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Amen.
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-09-27T11:12:41-04:00 — #2
I appreciate your post and its content very much and I am of the same understanding as you state.
I would like to add something concerning the two terms "envy" and "jealousy" as I do think they are not referring to the same thing nor are they both a sin.
The true God declares Himself to be a jealous God, cp. the following passages:
Exo 34:14 (AV)
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God:
Deu 4:24 (AV)
For the LORD thy God [is] a consuming fire, [even] a jealous God.
Jealousy and being jealous concerns something which rightfully is among one's possessions ("what belongs to me"). These passages declare that God is jealous concerning the matter of people's worship, which rightfully belongs to Him and is to be given Him (and not to any other). Obviously, being jealous is not sin (else God would be that top-sinner in this category).
Envy and being envious, in contrast, concerns something which rightfully is among someone else's possessions ("what belong to someone else"), and desiring such and pursuing such is sin.
When recognizing this difference, I would deem it correct to make such distinction when we use the terms as well and not connect "envy" and "jealousy" in a manner where others might think that they are the same and just synonyms for the same thing.
Here are some thoughts on an interesting example:
A husband should absolutely be jealous regarding his wife and visa versa when they notice some attempt from outside to draw either away from the other. Jealousy is a good thing, and would serve as a safeguard to protect each other and the marriage relationship.
A person trying to "steal away" someone else's husband or wife is actually displaying envy, He/she would be envious of what the other spouse has to the point of "breaking in" and stealing what belongs to someone else. Such behavior has nothing to do with jealousy (since what the person wants is not his/hers in the first place but belongs to someone else !) but is envy.
tyrone_howard — 2017-09-27T12:21:24-04:00 — #3
This is true.Envy existed even before Cain and Abel. The Angels were envious of Man's dominion of the Earth. Although powerful Celestial Beings, they believed they should have dominion over the earth. Through Envy, Satan deceived Eve, having her envious of knowledge, and self righteousness, exposing her belief she felts in deserving the fruit to make one wise.
dave_l — 2017-09-27T13:07:55-04:00 — #4
When you know Christ first hand and he lives in your heart, there is nobody you can possibly envy. You've already got it all. All you can do is pity people.