How Do We Handle Envy? A Round Table Discussion {Part 3 of 4}

Welcome back to A Round Table Discussion!

We’re sitting around the table, talking about envy this week. Today is part 3 of our conversation with these lovely ladies:

Find part 1 here and part 2 here. 

Let’s continue with the rich discussion, shall we?

5. What biblical battle with envy sticks out to you, either good or bad? Why?

Kristine Brown: Rachel and Leah were both married to the same man, but each sister wanted something the other had. Rachel wanted children so desperately; she blamed her husband Jacob for her infertility.

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I will die.” Gen. 30:1 WEB

Leah harbored deep resentment toward Rachel for years. Her envy finally surfaced in a heated exchange of words between them.

She said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes, also?” Genesis 30:15 WEB

A pattern of comparison and envy played out for many years in the lives of these women. Thankfully, from their story we find hope for renewal. For more about Rachel and Leah, click here.

Lisa Appelo: Envy was the first sin between two people. In Genesis 4, Cain became envious after God rejected his offering but accepted Abel’s. Cain’s envy turned to hate, and he cold-blood murdered his own brother.

Cain’s reaction is extreme and we might think we’re far above it. But have you ever thought you could have what you wanted if that person was out of the running? Like, I’d be the prettiest (smartest, funniest, most popular) girl in the room if she weren’t around. Or caught yourself rejoicing at another’s hardship? Well, that’ll set her back a little. Dig down a bit, and our hearts are as rotten as Cain’s.

Kristi Woods: Saul and David are two that come to mind. Jealousy pulsed through Saul’s blood as the crowd chanted David’s success.

Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. What can he have more but the kingdom?” 1 Sam. 18:8 WEB

Saul grew jealous over God’s work in David’s life – God’s work. Envy grew in Saul as a result. It was the age-old comparison trap, man vs man, not “Look what God has done.”

6. What scripture(s) help you navigate in the battle against envy?

Betsy de Cruz: In scripture, we find this powerful reminder of how harmful envy can be for our inner life:

The life of the body is a heart at peace, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30 WEB

We also find encouragement concerning the attitudes God wants us to have towards others. We can use scriptures like these to evaluate our own motivations and to pray for a spirit of humility and love:

 

 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud,

1 Corinthians 13:4 WEB

Each one of us in the body of Christ has an important role.

Each one of us in the body of Christ has an important role. ~ @BetsydeCruz Click To Tweet

Each of us is chosen for the holy purpose of bringing praise to God.

 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: 1 Peter 2:9 WEB

When I firmly believe that I am God’s chosen, special possession and that my purpose is to glorify Him, I’m freer to celebrate how God is using others as well to bring glory to Himself.

Tiffany Parry: I’m in a season of waiting on God, watching for Him to move and trying not to rush the process. Along the way, prizes have been awarded, friends have been chosen and I’m still on the sidelines waiting. It’s as fun as it sounds.

Envy has reared its head and whispered, “Look…God picked everyone but you.” After I whined, cried, and got all the feels out of the way, I went to Jesus. He gave me Proverbs 14:30.

At first, I drank in the first half and prayed for tranquility. But when I lifted that prayer, conviction – and the part about rotting – prompted me to tackle envy first. I acknowledged to God I was struggling and confessed the same to trusted friends.

Ultimately what God led me to do was practice intentional generosity – cheer for others even if envy was rising. That lead me straight to the tranquility I was seeking. Because God’s word is awesome that way!

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow for the final portion of this four-part series on envy.

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There’s a chair just for you.

Action Step ~ What scriptures speak to you in the battle against envy? Comment below or on social media, using #roundtable.

A Prayer for the Road ~

Father, You are the God of David and Saul, although Saul often didn’t recognize that. Forgive me when I, like Saul, have been envious of another in ministry. Forgive me for those social media or life moments when I have run with a spirit of Leah. I don’t want resentment to be my god. No, Lord, I choose you instead. Be my God. Be my hero. Deliver me from envy’s wayward thoughts. Draw me into Your righteousness instead. May You gain the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Sharing with other Jesus writers here: #chasingcommunity, #heartencouragementThursday.
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14 Comments

  1. WOW! 1) How fun to see all of you here at Kristi’s, 2) What an amazingly cool layout for a series, and 3) Ohhhh…these words bot challenge and comfort me today! XOXO

    1. So glad to see you here, Liz! Yes, this discussion has been a challenge for me too, in a good way. 🙂 Praying God uses this as a stepping tool for us all to be unified in our purpose to glorify Him. Have a wonderful Thursday, friend.

  2. Such a fun way to explore this topic. Having seen the damage envy brings to relationships, I pray constantly for the Lord to keep me both content and grateful for what He had given me. Thank you to all of of you for sharing today!

    1. Oh yes, Joanne. It can be so damaging and I’ve seen that firsthand too. I always try to remember that being envious goes directly against what Jesus wants- unity. Thanks so much for joining us today!

    2. Contentment and gratefulness – they’re key. I was thinking about them just yesterday, amid all the conversation. So glad you joined us today, Joanne. Blessings!

  3. “Each of us is chosen for the holy purpose of bringing praise to God.” — That’s beautiful. <3 I love the thought of little ole' me being something that points glory…praise…to Him. Love the honest words of these posts–how they offer permission to God's girls to support one another because there's glory enough to go around. (His glory!) I love how God doesn't waste our brokenness — that, as He's doing a work in us, He then gives us a ministry to share it with others. — "A Round Table" is a beautiful ministry. Thank you each for sharing so vulnerably. ((xoxo))

    1. So true, Brenda. I think you hit the nail on the head. Envy comes from wanting God’s glory for ourselves but when we’re glorifying Him, there is no place for envy. I love that truth.

    2. Isn’t that such a strong, give-ya-the-warm-fuzzies statement, Brenda? I love it, too. We’re made for a holy purpose…giving praise. #Amen!

  4. Sara and Hagar come to mind. Sara becomes envious after Ishmael is born. I see Insecurity as the root of her envy. She was envious of Hagars ability to have a child. The irony is that she brought it on herself.

    1. Amen, Jenny! I agree insecurity is at envy’s root. Reminding myself who I am in Christ and loving others with His love aids me.
      We only see a glimpse of the successes of others, not the battles God brought them through.
      Looking forward to reading more from each of you! ((Hugs))