Want to know how to get rid of envy?
Have you ever struggled with jealousy? Are you dealing with jealousy now? Don’t feel bad. I think we all have at one time or another. Want to know what else I think? I think we will struggle with it until we transition to heaven. It’s part of the human condition. We just can’t live in it and allow it to control us. Get rid of envy or else bitterness soon follows.
Don’t judge me…
I have a personal example: years ago, I was jealous of a girl at work. She was so pretty, cool, funky and charming. When I was around her, I felt two feet tall. I felt ugly, fat, dumb and short. Yes, she was (is) tall and slender.
Being so consumed with my own personal deficits, I didn’t realize I had many of the same qualities I admired in her (except the height). No, I was blinded to who I was because I was too stuck on who I wasn’t. So silly.
A lot of young women do the same. Maybe it’s because they are so young they haven’t had a chance to see who God is in their own lives and all that He has given them.
I don’t know.
But, I’m happy to say that after being envious of this girl for months, God changed my heart toward her and opened my eyes His greatness in her. The result is a friendship that is now about 23 years old. I know she’s reading this and smiling- maybe even laughing because we have talked about this so many times.
Back then, in my folly, the Lord didn’t reach from heaven and go “Poof, you’re not jealous anymore, Terri”. That would have been nice. But, the transformation required a bit more of me.
First, I had to realize my jealousy was sin. I had to confess it to Him and ask Him to deliver me (set me free) from it. The Holy Spirit guided me to begin praying for the girl. I thought that was weird. I thought I should be praying for myself to change. But, I obeyed.
I remember praying for this girl to be blessed in every area of her life. I prayed God would add even more of the blessings (I envied) to her life. I prayed God would bless her relationship (I had none). I prayed he would bless her job (I hated mine). I prayed He would give her more money (I was a struggling single mom), I prayed her car would run well (mine was a junk pile).
It was hard to pray she would continue to receive blessings I so desperately wanted for myself. Do you see what God was teaching me? What He was doing in my life?
The Holy Spirit was teaching me to master (become ruler over) my “natural” desires and crucify my flesh (sinful nature). It was spiritual discipline (i.e. spanking) to pray for someone who seemed to have everything while I had nothing.
Again, this was very difficult the beginning. But, after a few days (maybe weeks), it was easier to pray for God to bless her life beyond her wildest imaginations! After a while, I really meant it. My heart had changed through prayer and reading God’s Word.
I’m so happy with the result – a lifelong friend who has been like a sister to me. How foolish I was!
The point of all this…
You know, we have control over our responses and feelings. We are not helpless servants to sin and temptation. I should say we don’t have to be. Read Romans 6:16.
There is a proper response for a Christian when someone else is blessed. I saw it during my private Bible study time and wondered why I hadn’t noticed it long ago.
Luke 18:43 (NIV)
“Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”
You know there were some people in that multitude still waiting for God to answer their prayer. But, instead of complaining, the Bible says they praised God with the (formerly) blind man.
When someone is blessed (or has received something they have asked God for), we should praise God for their wonderful fortune. We should thank God for hearing their prayer.
For giving them the wonderful husband they had been waiting for. For healing their body. For giving them that beautiful new car. For blessing them with a gorgeous house.
For saving their adult child. For giving them a great job, business or promotion. For their new prestigious ministry promotion. For growing their church. For giving them that large sum of money. Whatever, we must praise God for and with them.
Your sincere praise and happiness for someone else’s blessing cultures your heart. It takes the focus off the person (being blessed) and places it appropriately on the one and only God of the universe. This God- this only God – can provide the same blessings, grace and fortune for you, if it is in His plan for your life. I’m living proof. He gave me everything I was once jealous of and so much more.
Jesus Christ changes hearts and changes circumstances. When your heart adjusts to see things according to God’s kingdom, you mature. You learn how to get rid of envy in your daily life because you’ll trust Him to give you what you need when you need it. You grow spiritually which means you become better capable to handle blessings of any kind.
I think God has a system. At the heart of the system is God’s purpose to see His sovereign rule on in the hearts of His children. Everything fits into that system. All roads in a Christian’s life lead to this system.
So, the next time you struggle with envy, instantly begin to praise God for that person’s blessings. Do it every, single time you think of them. Not because you’re expecting God’s monetary blessings, but because you want to be a mature Christian, growing and useful to the Master. Amen?