I want to add a disclaimer to the front of this post that I did not intend to do a “green” post on St Patricks Day. But hey here we are let’s go for it.
I have been pondering this issue of envy for a while. I will be honest it isn’t because I recognize it in people around me and think that they need to hear about it is because I personally am a very envious person.
Oops…. I just admitted I am a sinner. Now I will be in hot water.
Seriously though, as a young minister with a heart on fire for God and a desire to be more than the status quo I find myself envying other ministers and ministries all the time. And I hate that part of me. In my heart there is a delicate balance between wanting to do all I can for the Kingdom and wanting to be like so and so minister at super church across town.
James 3:14-16 says this
14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
There are two distinct things that we as leaders have to face.
- Selfish Ambition
OUCH!!! I have already discussed the Envy part a little bit but you throw the selfish ambition in and it is like twisting the knife.
Envy presents two problems
- It is disfavor with God’s favor on others
- When we take the position of envying someone for any reason it is immediately questioning God’s favor on that person. While it may be indirect the statement that we are making is that whoever we are envying is not deserving or is less deserving than we are. We may make comments like “it’s not fair” or “that could/should be me” etc.
- It is displeasure with what God has given to us
- Whatever situation we find ourselves in and in whatever state of life it may be , we must hold onto the fact that God has placed us there to be stewards of what He has given us. Our displeasure is the equivalent of shaking our fist at our Lord and saying that He does not know what is best. DANGEROUS place to be to say the least.
Envy itself presents itself in several forms.
- Relational Envy- When you envy someone’s relationships and the qualities they seemingly have.
- Material Envy- When you envy someone’s material possessions
- Physical Envy- When you envy someone’s physical appearance.
- Developmental Envy- When you envy someone’s advancement in life.
- Skill Envy- When you envy someone’s ability to do something or do something better than you can
I had never thought about these but when I really started delving into this issue it cut me deep.
Relational envy can destroy friendships and marriages. I causes drama period, ever known a person to try to get between two friends….that is relational envy.
Material envy is probably the most well known and thought of. It consumes people and their time. It is why we have so many workaholics.
Physical Envy is what the fashion industry is built on. But we can take that further, do you think the makers of P90x and Insanity SlimFast and any fat burner at GNC are really interested in your health. NO!! They are preying on your physical envy
Developmental envy is my failure. But it goes deeper. A kid who can’t wait to be 16 or an adult wishing he could be a kid again. Or a minister wishing he could be in a church that was really reaching people and experienced the freedom to do ministry apart from church politics
Skill envy pulls us into comparing ourselves to everyone else.. You will never and I mean NEVER be the best… the minute you are someone comes along and is better. You need to deal with it. Accept the skills God has given you give them over to Him and develop them for HIS glory.
Envy is destructive. Look at Cain and Able, Joseph and his brothers, Judas, the Pharisees and Jesus, all examples of envy invading the heart and causing great sin to follow.
Bottom line we have got to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else and move on with what God has place before us. Envy can accomplish no good and James tells us that it is directly opposed to anything of God. It is earthly not heavenly, unspiritual not spiritual, and of the devil not of God. According to 2 Timothy 2:22 we are to flee evil and so we should run as far away from envy as we can.
Search your heart…..what is God telling you/