Do you ever feel like you’re in a silent competition?
There are no posted rules, but everyone around you is a judge. The prize is approval, and the game is on.
I remember when I was just a little girl, starting to learn how to measure my value by comparing myself with my girl friends. I still remember the first day I realized that one of my friends was gifted in ways that I wasn’t.
She could sing beautifully. Her personality made her the center of attention, and there wasn’t a thing about her appearance I could find any fault with. She was funny; she could draw and paint like a (talented!) grown-up; she was fun to be around, and she was smart. Up until then, she was simply my friend. That day, I felt small.
I must have told my Mom about it, because I remember her response:
“Lin, you don’t have to be the ‘best,’ and if you treat life like a competition, you’ll never be happy.” She was right, but I didn’t take her words seriously until much later.
5 Truths to Combat Envy
This sin can be subtle, and I’ve found it lurking around in corners of my heart wherever there are shadows of insecurity. The following five truths have been helpful to me in my own (past and present!) combats with this sin.
1. Envy craves glory for me, not God. Envy is proud.
Galatians 5:26 links these two sins explicitly: “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” We want what someone else has so we can receive more honor.
2. Envy is born from shame.
Shame forgets who the gospel says we are. Shame says we need to hide—and this is the soil where envy has the opportunity to grow. If you aren’t enough in Jesus, you’re going to look elsewhere to fix your craving for acceptance. Enter envy.
3. Envy chokes love.
First Corinthians 13:4 tells us what love looks like: “Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” If envy is living in our hearts toward someone, the love of Christ cannot flourish toward that individual.
4. Envy is ruined by thanksgiving.
Envy is not an invincible sin; it buckles and dies when you tackle it with gratitude. If you are cultivating a thankful heart (especially toward God and the people you envy), you are simultaneously rooting envy out.
5. The love of God is the death-knell of envy.
When you know how much your Maker delights in you (see Romans 8!), your heart is full and satisfied. Full, satisfied hearts don’t go roaming around looking for things they lack. Basking in the grace and love of God = suffocating envy.
What has God taught you about envy? How do you personally put this sin to death? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
For more on envy, check out these posts from our archives: