Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. - Philippians 2:6
When we are looking to progress in our understanding of the Lord we must look to the heart and what dwells within. Of all the least talked about sins in our day, Envy is near the top of the list. Perhaps one of the greatest roots of envy is the jealously that God is God and we are not. Such evil desires that desires more then what is given or deserved becomes a distortion of love and therefore is the opposite of love. Thomas Aquinas says of Envy: "Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life. Charity rejoices in our neighbor's good, while envy grieves over it."
Envy is as old as Adam and Eve. Their firstborn son Cain envied Abel and killed him over extreme jealously. Cain envied Abel because God favored Abel's sacrifice over Cain's. Envy defiles a person and makes them hideous always seeking to put down others that they may be exalted. Of course this is not how it looks on the outside, it can even appear holy but inwardly the desires are evil. Saul envied David (1 Samuel 18:5-9). Isaac, envied the Philistines (Genesis 26:12-16).
Envy cannot dwell with true godliness but with only that which is false, unspiritual and demonic (James 3:13-16). John R. Stott says, "Envy! Envy is the reverse side of a coin called vanity. Nobody is ever envious of others who is not first proud of himself."
We can envy one's wealth, position, fame, title, honour, health, possessions and many other things. Only Christ who was the one that walked in true humility and did not even count his status as the Son of God important, but humbled himself to death and did not envy but died and emptied himself.
In God's kingdom when we empty ourselves we are filled, when we die we live, when we humble ourselves we are exalted. When we envy we destroy ourselves. The holy Apostle Peter tells us to "put away envy" (1 Peter 2:1). Strike it away from yourself, be violent with such evil desires that arise in you.
Have a remedy also for this poison of the heart. When someone is exalted rejoice! When you are lowered rejoice. Never desire anothers exaltation but rejoice that they have been blessed of God and praise God for such a thing. Be content with the gifts God has given you, the Heavenly Father is wise and all-knowing in what He has entrusted you with.
Sadly when we envy we follow the error also of satan who envied the very throne of God but was cast down in judgment. Let our dying to envy show the evil one and all demons that we are of those who obey Jesus and are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Amen.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon