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