Envy means “to bear a grudge toward someone due to coveting what that person has or enjoys.” In a milder sense, it means “the longing for something someone else has without any ill will intended toward that person.” Envy is the emotion when you want something that someone else has.
Jealousy means “being apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” It can also mean “watchful, anxiously suspicious, or zealous,” or “expecting complete devotion.” The last is normally applied to God. Jealousy is the emotion when you fear something or someone might be taken away from you.
Envy, if left unchecked, can easily fuel a fire to jealousy. Jealousy, if left unchecked, will lead to fear and fear can be absolutely debilitating. Fear alone is bad enough but when it is heaped with coals of envy and jealousy you will soon see other negative emotions and actions follow.
Negative human emotions often times arise from fear and we are commanded as believers to “fear no evil” many times throughout the Bible. If we are fearful of another person, we do become hostile towards them, whether in our thoughts or our actions. Jealousy of another person is the state of believing they have something more and fearing they will become more advantageous.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The Bible is very clear that we have not been given a spirit of fear. Fear is a sinful emotion and is not of God.
Because we are all sinners and as humans we are full of emotion, we have all faced fear. As Christians, we can release that fear to God and focus on scripture and positive thinking. We must put our focus on the love of Christ and know His uplifting and gentle words that drive out fear and jealousy. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sister, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
We must triumph over envy, jealousy, and the many other negative emotions that we face! God did not promise an easy life, but He did promise to never leave us or forsake us in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.” Why do we fear and become jealous of others when we only need to be pleasing in the eyes of God? When we allow negative emotions to control us, we are inadvertently telling God that what He has provided for us, where He has placed us, and what He has planned for us is not enough. We have told our Creator that He is wrong and I promise you, God is NEVER wrong! We need to put our focus on satisfying and becoming delightful in the eyes of our Creator, not another person.
How do we overcome these sinful emotions?
Confess your negative thoughts, feelings and fears to God. It is true, God already knows our feelings but confessing them brings forth your acknowledgment. God wants to help you; we just need to ask Him!
Be thankful for your blessings and gifts. God created you in His own image and has blessed you according to His plan. We must be thankful for all we have and praise Him for everything.
Put your faith into action. Matthew 8:26 reads, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” What do you have to fear? Carry your shield of faith and be pleasing to God, not man. Faith will take your from jealousy to contentment, allow God’s words to lift you up.
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” James 3:16. You don’t really want disorder and evil to rule your life. Take your jealousy into your hands and cast them away. Ask God to replace these with love, His love… for perfect love casts out evil, 1 John 4:8b.