“Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” Matthew 20:15 (KJV, emphasis mine)
In last week’s blog, we defined envy as a painful or resentful awareness and attitude of covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success and possessions. The Hebrews (God’s people) and the scriptures regularly employed the expression “an evil eye” to characterize a person filled with envy or jealousy.
“He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” Proverbs 28:22 (KJV, emphasis mine)
Our opening text reveals how our Lord Jesus called out envy exercised by Jewish leaders. He also reminded the people that an evil eye as well as a host of other internal issues defiles a person.
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23 (KJV)
James, the Lord’s half-brother, was inspired by the Holy Spirit to also call out the sin of envy.
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” James 3:14 (KJV)
All through Scripture from the Old Testament to the New Testament envy has poisoned people and produced wicked works as well as ruin in the relationship between God and man as well as the relationship between man and his fellow man.
In Genesis 4:3-8 we see the erosive evil of envy in Cain’s heart and its perverted progression which poisoned him. As a result he commits the first act of murder on earth.
In Acts 13:42-45 the poison of envy drove the people to deny, rebel and reject the Word of God. The poison of envy also pushed them to prevent the people from hearing the Good News!
“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” Acts 13:42-45 (KJV)
Envy also eviscerated the reverence of God in the heart of an anointed chereb. As a result he rebelled and wages war against God and the people of God.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14 (KJV)
So we see that the egregious poison of envy had an evil impact in the heart of early man, religious men, and even an angel. God’s Word calls us to put away and stay away from the poison of evil.
“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 (KJV)
“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:13-14 (KJV, emphasis mine)
“Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:26 (KJV)
Before I end our thoughts please consider the following points for the purpose of extinguishing envy.
I. Center yourself in contentment.
“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:12-13 (KJV)
II. Be deliberate in dying to self. Purpose to promote others over yourself.
“And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’” Luke 9: 23 (KJV)
“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:2-3 (KJV)
III. Replace envy with a heart of gratitude.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6 (KJV)
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
If you employ these antidotes, you will be able by the power of the Holy Spirit, to extinguish envy from your life.
For the Glory of God,