Overcome Jealousy and Envy

Read This: “For we have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another.” John 1:16

Think: Even though we’ve all been given so much, it’s hard not to compare ourselves to others. We look at their houses, cars, jobs, good looks, talents, and even their families and, if we’re not careful, jealousy can start to take root. Instead of practicing an attitude of gratitude, we begin to yearn for bigger and better things, becoming more and more discontent with what we’ve already been given. We get so caught up in comparing God’s blessings we don’t even stop to enjoy them, much less thank him for them.

In Matthew 20: 1-16, Jesus tells the parable of a man who went out early one morning and hired laborers to work in his fields for an agreed amount of money. Throughout the day, the man continued to hire more laborers to work in the fields. At the end of the day the man paid each man, regardless of how long he worked, the same amount. But the men who were hired first weren’t happy anymore with the wages they had agreed on earlier. Instead, they thought they should earn more because they worked longer. But the man responded, “Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (v 15).

Who are we to question God’s judgment or to demand more of him? God doesn’t show favoritism. Deuteronomy 10:17 reads, “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe.” And Romans 2:11 says, “For there is no partiality with God.” Every gift is uniquely suited to us according to his good and perfect will. His thoughts are higher than ours and his ways are perfect. As his children, we can be confident in his love for us and trust that there are reasons for what we receive and don’t receive from him.

Ask: When is the last time comparison robbed you of your joy? What kind of expectations do we tend to put on God’s generosity? The Bible has strong warnings against covetousness and envy. Why do we need to take these so seriously?

Pray: Sometimes we’re envious without even realizing it. Ask God to open your eyes to any sins of jealousy and discontentment in your heart. Repent and ask God to forgive you, as well as guard you from that in the future. Thank your Heavenly Father for loving you and then specifically thank him for the gifts he’s given you.