The Dangers of Envy (Part IV)

Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; Proverbs 23:17

Some people envy others because they see them getting away with evil. I shared in the last devotional about Joseph’s brothers envying him, and they got away with their evil for many years. The above scripture tells us that we need to guard our hearts from envying sinners. This is what Joseph did when his brothers acted unfairly towards him. He did not allow their evil actions to change him or cause him to sin.

In addition, although Joseph was wronged by his brothers, he continued to trust God when Potiphar’s wife tried to tempt him. Subsequently, she falsely accused Joseph of making advances towards her, but Joseph was zealous for the fear of the Lord and did not sin against the Lord or the Potiphar. Other people’s bad behavior should not stop us from doing what is right.

The good news is that the envy of Joseph’s brothers did not stop God’s plan for Joseph, and their actions even pushed Joseph to be in the right place for God’s plan. Joseph continued to fear God and be faithful to the Lord, and God advanced him despite of all the obstacles.

Do not envy the oppressor, And choose none of his ways; For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, But His secret counsel is with the upright. Proverbs 3:31-32

The scriptures clearly direct us not to be envious of those who do wrong.  The truth is that the world is full of those who will act unfairly or in shady manner. Other people’s actions do not change the fact that envy is dangerous and demonic, and it does not produce any good fruit. Furthermore, God is intimate with those whom He trusts and those who live their lives to please Him.

Is it truly worth missing out on our intimacy with the Lord and having His secret counsel over envying others!? God showed His secret counsel to Joseph by allowing him to interpret accurately people’s dreams including Pharaoh’s dreams. The Lord used him in a powerful way even though his brothers had tried to get rid of him to ensure that he will not be their leader someday. However, they could not thwart God’s plan, and the Lord allowed Joseph to be in a position where his brothers would have needed him. After all those years that seemingly they got away with their wicked schemes, Joseph was merciful to his brothers when they came seeking food during famine in their land.

Envy has a toxic and insidious affect, and we must do everything we can not to open the door to this dangerous spirit. Make a commitment not to give room to envy in your life. Sometimes, it will be a battle to refrain from envy. However, we have to keep in mind that pleasing the Lord, having His secret counsel, and remaining healthy physically are far more valuable than being envious. Continue to fight the battle to remain in the spirit and don’t make any provision for the flesh! Like Joseph, we can be a blessing to those who persecuted us instead of envying them. 

The Dangers of Envy (Part III)

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:14-16

The above scripture gives us a few truths about the dangers of envy.  James tells us that some will boast about envy and self-seeking. Why would one boast about envying!? I don’t think people directly boast about their envy, but they boast about the accomplishments that was rooted in envy! For example, striving can be rooted in envy, so, on the surface, the person can look impressive by what they achieve. Hence, they could be boasting about their accomplishments instead of boasting about envying others.  Envy causes a person to be self-seeking and not to stand being the second fiddle. As a result, envy can compel a person to do all that he/she can to ensure they attain or maintain what is valuable to them!

In addition, the above scripture tells us that some will lie about their motives and will try to hide or deny their envy. On the surface they may look like a dedicated person, but their motives are to push others aside and ensure that they are the ones who hold are at the center of stage. We all need to be discerning of our own motives as well as those around us. A lot of things can look impressive, and every organization looks for dedicated members who are faithful and committed. However, this does not mean that every person has pure motives in doing what they do. We all need to check in with the Lord from time to time and ensure that our heart is pure and we have no ulterior motives.

James goes on to explain that these actions and attitudes are not spiritual but carnal and demonic! This is very sobering.! When a person allows envy to be the motivating factor in what they do, they are opening the door to the demonic in their lives. They are no longer are led by the spirit of God. They may think that they are walking in freedom with Jesus, but envy has held them captive! Now, their focus and desire has shifted from serving God to serving themselves and winning.

Joseph’s brothers are a good example of the damage that envy can produce (Read starting in Genesis 37). Their envy caused them to open the door to the spirit of hatred and murder. Their jealousy led them to get rid of their brother. Furthermore, they lied to their father and acted like they knew nothing about what happened to Joseph. This caused much pain and separation for their father and Joseph. Their intent was to ensure that Joseph did not remain the favorite and his dreams would not come true. Their envy brought about self-seeking and demonic schemes and caused them to even lie about it by pretending to their father that they cared about Joseph!

Are you someone who helps and encourages people to grow and take their place in their God-given sphere? Or do you feel insecure about those who are preferred and try to minimize them? Are you happy for those who are honored? Or do you allow envy to cause you to resent others and their privileged status in life? You may argue that some don’t deserve their position. This is the subject of the next devotional.



Image by Devanath from Pixabay.

The Dangers of Envy (Part II)

A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. Proverbs 14:30

The Bible tells us much about envy and its danger to the person and those around them. The above scripture  tells us that envy brings destruction to the body. People can experience various mental, emotional, and physical issues because they allow themselves to be envious and bitter in their hearts. The fact is that regardless of what others have done, envy does not change anything. It only infects the person who has come into agreement with it. They’re the ones suffering and paying the price for it. In addition, the person remains carnal and inhibits their own growth as I shared in the last devotional. We’re called to guard our hearts from envy. When we keep our hearts sound, our perception and our body remains healthy and whole as well.  

So the women sang as they danced, and said:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands.”

Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward.

And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. 1 Samuel 18:7-10

Saul became Jealous of David and his popularity among people. His envy brought about a distressing spirit that tormented him. At times, David was invited to play music for him, so he could be relieved from this anxiety. The truth is that David would not have been even in the picture if Saul had done what God told him to do. When Saul disobeyed the Lord, God rejected him and chose David to be the future king.

David was anointed by God and he wasn’t the one after Saul’s position. He was just trying to live his life and be a good shepherd boy for his father. He had no ambitions to take Saul’s place. It was Saul’s insecurity and his own disobedience that opened the door to distressing spirit and torment. One of the dangers of envy is that it pollutes our perception, and it causes distrust of others. The envious person may get paranoid and  think that others are out to get them.  Others’ Actions are interpreted as a personal attack and how it might take the envious person out of their position.

As David was trying to be all God had called him to be, Saul interpreted those actions as a plan to take his throne. Saul’s envy made David’s life very difficult, yet it did not thwart God’s plan for his life. The fruit of envy was distress and depression for Saul. Are there people that you are envious of? Can you trust God with your future? Do you believe that as long as you are walking with God and pleasing Him nothing could stop God’s plan for your life?




Image by Sebastian Šoška from Pixabay


The Dangers of Envy (Part I)

The world is full of competition and backbiting, which makes it a fertile ground for people envying each other. The problem is that envy damages one’s spirit, soul, and body, and it is very dangerous to everyone involved including the body of Christ!

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 1 Corinthians 3:3

Definition of Carnal (according to Strong’s Dictionary): having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites; governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God; having its seat in the animal nature or aroused by the animal nature; human: with the included idea of depravity; pertaining to the flesh; to the body: related to birth, linage, etc.

Paul made a distinction between a carnal person versus a spiritual person by describing how they operate. When someone is carnal, they are operating in their lowest nature. It’s about survival and being better than others,  and it creates comparison, competition, and envy. It all becomes about what they want and how it makes them feel. They rely on their natural senses and their family history to seek truth and make decisions in life.

Paul measured the Corinthian’s carnality by the level of their envy, strife, and division.  Most people would not admit being envious, so the enemy has a hold on them. People keep envy in secret and try to act like it doesn’t exist. Subsequently, envy is not addressed easily because of its private and secretive nature. Hence, envy is only visible with its fruits, which are drivenness, strife, and division.

Once a person opens the door to envy, they stunt their own spiritual development. They cannot grow in their spirit man if they continue to feed their flesh with envy. Paul warned the church members in Corinth that he was only able to give them milk because they were still carnal and not ready for solid food. Envy caused arrested development, and it impacted others through disunity and broken relationships!

Envying is completely opposite of what God desires for His children. How can we build a healthy church if the members are envious of each other!? How can we work in unity with each other when people are worried about who is going to get the credit!? How can Jesus be lifted up when some are focused on lifting themselves up or ensuring that they are at the center of attention? How can we have brotherly love when one cannot be happy for the success of his brother or sister in Christ!?

I will continue with this subject in the next devotional