Envy is so ugly. We try to keep it hidden. We think nobody sees it. We don’t like to think about it or talk about it. But we need to because envy is so harmful.
It is destructive to your soul. It destroys your happiness. It can rob you of your joy, and it can make you a miserable person. Envy can ruin relationships.
We’ve been thinking through the story of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20:1-16. This story shows us what to do by teaching us what not to do when it comes to dealing with the issue of envy.
First, we learned that it is important to stop comparing ourselves with others. Then we explored the importance of learning to celebrate God’s goodness to others. These are principles that can make a huge difference when it comes to overcoming envy.
Another way to avoid envy is by being grateful for what you have. Instead of focusing so much on what you don’t have and what didn’t happen, be grateful for what you do have.
Gratitude and contentment are learned behavior. The apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content.” It was a learning process for him, and it will be for you and me, too. Everything we have is a gift from God.
When you stop to think about it, envy is actually based on a myth. The myth is that I must have more to be happy. I must have something I don’t have now in order to be happy.
It’s better to be satisfied with what you have than to always want something else. Most of us have more than we deserve already.
Trusting God when life seems unfair is another way to get rid of envy. Whenever it looks like God is blessing somebody else in a way that He’s not blessing you, you just need to trust Him.
If you find yourself starting to use the phrase, “It’s not fair” or “I deserve this,” you’ve already fallen into the trap of envy.
When you’re envious, there are typically huge trust issues. The problem really isn’t with the person you envy. It is with God. You doubt His goodness to you.
Perhaps you feel that He is unfair. Maybe you feel like you have been shortchanged somehow. It just keeps coming back to a matter of trust.
A major lesson in the story is to not allow ourselves to get distracted by focusing on what’s going on in the lives of others. Stay focused on God’s will for you.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.