Beware of the Green-eyed Monster!

The creature is hard to see, slithering unaware and whispering deceptions. Those who are susceptible listen to its riveting voice and are mesmerized by its words. Much like the original serpent who lured Eve into doubting the Creator’s instructions, it cleverly plants seeds of discontent. They grow into fields of resentment with sharp burs that cling to anyone passing through. Who is this destructive creature? The green-eyed monster, ENVY.

Envy goes beyond wanting nice things. It’s wanting the nice things that others have.

When I was in high school, the popular girls were 5 foot 2, eyes of blue, and with beautiful blonde hair too. I really wished that I could look like them. I was taller. I also had black hair and brown eyes. It didn’t help that they wore two sizes smaller in clothing AND shoes either. Never mind that I was still trim. I wanted to be like them, because these girls seemed to have it all when it came to the looks department.

Later, after my body image improved slightly, I was exposed to another area that became an open ground for envy. It was the denominational pastors’ meetings. What was meant to provide opportunities for networking and encouragement exposed the shame of being second-class ministers.

A conversation with me would sound something like this:

Me: Hey, Steve. How’s it going?

Steve: Oh, hi! It’s going well.

Me: And how’s your church doing?

Steve: It’s great. The Lord is really blessing us. We’re up to 250 people now. It’s amazing!”

Me: I’m so glad to hear that!

I quickly back away from the conversation and right into the clutches of envy. My thoughts run wild. Steve has 250 people in his church now. I feel like such a loser. I only have 50 people in my congregation. LORD, why is Steve’s congregation growing? I work just as hard as he does, maybe even harder. I want my church to grow. I want to have an effective ministry. I want a bigger salary…

Okay, it’s time to reign in those thoughts.

The green-eyed monster feeds on two of its favorite foods: Ingratitude and comparison.

When we envy, we are ungrateful for all the blessings of God in our lives. First and foremost, we lose sight of the glorious relationship we have with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. There is absolutely nothing better than knowing Jesus. As the song says, “You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.” What else do we fail to see? Our health, God’s provision, special connections with family and friends… The gratitude list can go on and on if we take the time to think about it. And, we should think about our blessings often.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:28 NLT).

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)

Comparison is another action that feeds envy. We compare ourselves to someone who seems more put together than us, has greater skills in areas that are important to us, or has a higher economic status that we desire (or whatever else it might be). Don’t let your ambition to succeed determine your worth. Don’t set your value based on your lack instead of what God says about you.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it (Psalm 139:14).

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17).

Precious reader, your God-given value can’t be measured. Refuse to listen to the folly of envy. The LORD loves the way He made you. His calling for your life is unique. Determine to trust Jesus and gaze in His direction instead of anyone or anywhere else.

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