To my shame, I often had to fight with envy. It's something I've battled growing up & an emotion that up until the last 5 years or so I didn't quite know how to deal with... And yep, it left me pretty insecure.
Envy can be felt at such an early age, we aren't taught to feel it, it just kinda creeps up on us. I was absolutely horrified to read recently of a young girl who allowed her envy to completely captivate her. The article told of two young friends, one was exceptionally beautiful. Her friend struggled with envy towards her. This envy led her to viciously attack her friend pouring acid all over her. The girl suffered horrific burns to her face & neck & is now left with with horrible deep scarring. Many would say she's no longer beautiful. Following the verdict the judge said of the attacker, "She was almost obsessively jealous of the victims good looks". Reading this article absolutely horrified me but then I was reminded that every time we covet (yearn to possess) something another person has it's coming from the same root as the tree from which that awful acid attack stemmed. You see, if we don't deal with that envious root quickly it can grow into something awful.
I believe envy stems from insecurity & fear. It almost always strikes when we feel in some way threatened by a person, situation or when we feel a sense of entitlement (the "I deserve it more" attitude). People who feel inadequate, overly dependant or insecure tend to be more envious than others. The Green eyed monster, as Shakespeare called it, can completely consume us, if we allow it to. Just look at Cain & Abel, (Genesis 4:1-16) poor Abel was killed by his brother who was completely overtaken by envy.
Deep routed Envy
None of us are exempt, envy tries to grip us all. But some of us are so used to it's sour taste we no longer notice it. We can go about our day to day lives ignoring the lies it brings. (E.g) "She's got what you should have, you'll never amount to anything without it".
Envy mixed up with lies & bitterness with insecurity poured on top... Doesn't sound very appetising does it? Thats because it comes from The Master of lies, Satan himself. John 10:10 "The theif comes to steal, kill & destroy; I came that they may have life & have it abundantly". You see, Jesus came to break down the strongholds in our lives if we will only allow him to do so.
Dealing with it
Part A (The Fight)
The only way I'm able to deal with envy & rid myself of its nasty side effects, (lets face it it comes with a few; stress, bitterness, anxiety, hate, the list goes on..) is to TREAT IT AS THE SIN IT IS! The Bible tells us we need to kill sin daily (Romans 8:12) & repent from our sins (1 John 1:9). So, in the same way we must hold our hands up & repent from envy. We need to ask The Lord to renew our minds & help us to be content & secure in who we are in Him. My personal battle with The Green Eyed Monster was a lot more complicated than simply repenting & killing my fleshy ways. I had to pray daily for God to change my heart, to help me show love to those I was struggling with envy towards. It took time & a lot of prayer.
Part B (The Freedom)
Many battles are won when our understanding or paradigm changes. We have to come to terms with understanding that God's will for us is perfect, and what He gives to us is part of a perfect plan.
I began to realise coveting what other people had was literally a waste of my energy. If God wanted me to have those things, or be in that particular place I would be. Over time I began to find joy & contentment in where I was at in my life & I started to notice a genuine happiness for others who were already where I wanted to be (as appose to the bitter smile & "I'm happy for you" I would have forced out before.) I used their success to motivate me instead of bringing them down in my heart & feeling envious. Of course envy still tries to pop up in my heart & it always will because I'm human but now I just send it back to where it came from & keep it movin' with a grateful heart for how far I've come.
But doesn't the Bible say that God is a jealous God?
Yes God is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14 "Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." I believe this to mean that God is jealous of His own creations & possessions- and since the earth & all that's in it belongs to Him he has reason to be jealous for what is rightfully His. For example if another women flirts with my husband I have reason to be jealous because he is mine- my jealousy is a protective jealousy. If however I see this woman get out of the latest sports car in the most fabulous pair of heels with the sparkliest rock on her finger & I begin to covet her wealth & possessions it is wrong. I have no business being envious of her. So if & when that feeling does arise pray it away before it takes root!
Walk away from envy
Don't forget the immense value that God has placed in you. His word says that we are the head & not the tail, above & not beneath. We have been called the sons (daughters) of God! Wow, what an honour! Don't allow the enemy access into your heart through envy. Meditate on God's word concerning your worth, Isaiah 62:3 "You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of The Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God".
Know your worth in Jesus Christ & allow God to set you free from the bondage of envy, the freedom feels beautiful.
Lastly let me leave you with one of my fave verses that I think is very fitting with todays blog. Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers & sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right , whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things"
Grace & Love,