A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
Envy is thought to be a natural human tendency. It is desiring what others have and having that feeling of being deprived. Envy is synonymous with covetousness.
That’s my simple definition of envy. Some confuse it with jealousy.
For example, a person would comment on a social media post of his friend’s travel, food, or plant photos, “Oh, I’m jealous!” but in reality, the word should have been “envious.”
Social media has hyperventilated people’s enviousness because anyone could post and exhibit things, travel, achievements, etc.
The envious “green” eyes see things differently. A simple, innocent post could mean a lot of things to a person consumed with envy.
Also, some envious hearts use social media to see what the “Joneses” have acquired lately and think of ways to keep up with them. This is a sad situation.
Perhaps psychology experts could define more, like the whys and the hows of enviousness. But that’s not the focus of this article.
If there is one thing that makes me happy and gives me peace of mind, I have always overcome envy.
Let me share two tips on overcoming envy. When it starts to creep in, or an envious person would tempt me, I use these tips.
1. Focus on possessing Godly values
I grew up in a family with not much material wealth or possession. My parents are both rural or town pastors.
My mum later became a public school teacher. That helped improved our economic status, but there is so much to aspire materially for, growing up.
However, we were taught to focus on what the Lord has given us and be thankful for it.
Faith in God’s provision is one primary thing that I have early on.
Yes, I have learned as a child to trust His Providence, and what I desire will be given as the Lord wills.
Apart from John 3:16, the verse that I have memorised and believed well since I was a kid is Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.“
Integrity is one big thing that I learned from my parents.
Primary to building integrity is the virtue of honesty.
Integrity is not about being perfect but having the courage and honesty to admit your mistakes and failings.
I grew up thinking that I would impress people more with my integrity than the material things I have, which I’m sure couldn’t even match what others have.
2. A.S.K.E.D. your God-given Gifts
Yes, “ASKED” the gifts that the Lord God has for you. It stands for:
Searching and finding your God-given gifts will divert you from focusing on what others have that you don’t have. It will prevent you from becoming envious.
I believe that God has endowed us with gifts and what we need to do is ask, seek, and knock as Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.“
Once you have discovered your gift or gifts, you need to empower and develop yourself to using these God-given gifts.
Then, do not limit these gifts to yourself. For gifts to be appreciated more and celebrated more, you have to share them.
You must empower and develop others. Selfishness breeds envy, but selflessness cultivates generosity.
Friends, I have applied these tips through my life and it has given me happiness and fulfillment. They have enabled me to be happy with others’ successes and achievements.
Furthermore, in the course of my life, I learned that no person is ever complete. There is always something lacking in each one of us despite our strive to be self-sufficient in everything. I’m sure you, too, have observed this.
That’s why in the Christians’ fellowship table, we gather to share and complement or complete one another’s lack.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 reminds us, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
When you are assured that you possess God-given gifts and you know that you have something that others won’t ever have, but you can share generously, you will never envy.