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Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., shows how we can avoid being envious of others and what God has given them.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are . . . jealousies (Galatians 5:19–20)
Today’s big question: are you content with God’s provision for your life?
There are times when we envy another’s material possessions, job, health, or the like. In these times we are not content with our current situation, and we believe others have it “better” than us. Scripture states that jealousy is a work of the flesh. Therefore, we should strive to be content with everything God has given us—but what does that look like? How do we walk in the Spirit when it comes to avoiding envy?
Rather than focusing on not being jealous, we should remember the Scriptural mandate to love God first of all, and love others also. The following passage clearly shows that envy cannot abide with true love:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:4–6, emphasis added)
True love is of God (John 3:16; 1 John 4:16) and is contrary to envy. If we love as God loves us, we will care for a person’s spiritual well-being and be happy for the things God has done in their life. Material things have little spiritual significance because they are only temporary. Why be envious of temporary things? When we see people who glory in temporary things rather than God, we should feel sorry for them, not envious of them. Moreover, love is not self-seeking; it looks out for others when they fail or are misguided.
If we have true love, we will not be envious. We should also notice a truth about God’s character that is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 4:24 states, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” God is the Creator and worthy of all glory and worship. When others turn to idols rather than God, He is jealous. God has a right to be jealous, and He knows that worshiping Him is best for us. We, on the other hand, will never be God and should never be jealous for selfish ambitions.
Your health may not be the best, or you may not have everything you desire to live in comfort. Remember, as sinners, we really deserve death, so we should be thankful for all the provisions we have right now, no matter how small, because they are graciously given by God. And first and foremost as Christians, we should praise God for abundant spiritual blessings, including the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Today’s big idea: Christians have all they need in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What to pray: thank God for all He has done for you.