Envy in Us


Robert Noland defines envy and jealousy and how it can negatively affect our walk with Christ.

In 1 Samuel 18:7, we see a wedge being driven into what had the makings of an amazing relationship.

They sang: Saul has killed a thousand enemies; 
David has killed ten thousand enemies!

The king’s response? Jump to verse 9…  Saul never again trusted David.

What did David do to Saul? Well, nothing. But, from this moment on, no matter what David did, how he showed respect and honor for Saul, it was never received. And matters just grew worse.

In our modern connotations, let’s say that women get jealous and men show envy. Sure, it’s a fine line, but most women will outwardly express jealousy when they feel it through words, attitudes, and actions. As men, we work very hard to hide this, but when left unchecked, it won’t stay hidden for long. While jealousy often explodes; envy is just a steady leak. But both can destroy the house.

Envy is defined as the emotion of wanting what someone else has—money, power, fame, reputation, career, wife, children, home, car, on and on. Sometimes envy is specific and a man just wants another man’s job. Then there are times when a man wants everything another man has. Let’s look a little deeper, using Saul and David’s dilemma.

Envy creates…

1. Ill motives.

Saul was hoping that the Philistines would kill David…(v. 25)

Ill motives drive bad attitudes, careless words, and selfish actions. All of these are going the opposite direction of the Jesus image we are to be working toward.

2. Unnecessary and unwarranted fear.

But knowing those things made Saul even more afraid of David, and he was David’s enemy for the rest of his life. (v. 29)

It is such an odd and ironic concept that we will grow to fear someone we secretly want to be like. Why? Because the deeper the envy drives us, the more we realize we are not like the one whose life we desire. Then, for the Christian man, the more we feel the nosedive, the more we realize we are not submitting to Christ.

3. An open door for the enemy to enter.

The next day the Lord let an evil spirit take control of Saul, and he began acting like a crazy man inside his house. (v. 10)

Wishing we were someone else or wanting what they have is the enemy’s knock on the door. Envy gives him the run of the house.

Closing Points…

  1. Envy can cause even the popular and powerful to act like “a crazy man.”
  2. Envy can disguise someone else as our desired identity. At best, it’s a destructive decoy. 
  3. Envy can distract us from the One Who holds our true identity.

Closing Questions…

  1. Who do you have consistent ill motives toward? 
  2. Who creates unnecessary and unwarranted fear in you?
  3. Who are you so focused on that the enemy is actually robbing you blind while you stare on?

If today you realize envy is an issue for you in any relationship, the very good news is Jesus has a new identity ready for you to receive—one that is secure, safe, and sound in Him.

So, what else do we need?

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” —Matthew 5:48 MSG

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