In the Bible, the sin of envy made Cain to kill Abel his brother because God favoured Abel more than him (Genesis 4:3-8). Envy is a sin, “younger brother” to jealousy, deeply engineered by negative thoughts about the joy and progress of others; comparing oneself with others and feeling that one ought to be the one that is better placed.
Envy is a work of the flesh and shouldn’t be entertained under any guise. It is different from aspiration to be successful like others, (and having the desire to achieve a better lot in life), which can be positively directed by working hard to achieve what the person we admire has achieved. On the contrary, envy births evil since it has wicked acts and thoughts as undertones.
Envy can be found in all facets of life; among siblings, between spouses, in families, among friends, co – workers, church members, ministers, and others. Envy has been on for ages as we can see in the Bible; Herod envied Jesus Christ, the envious attitude of David’s siblings, Joseph brothers are not left out, Rebecca envied her own son Esau and cunningly transferred his blessings to Jacob, Saul envied David. It operates in both old and young, males and females. Envy gives its host work to do and this is being nurtured and supervised by the devil himself. It gives room for the devil to take hold, birthing different evil ideas. “Envy is a tool in the hand of the Devil and anyone with envy has a tool of the devil in his/her life.”
Envy is a seed that when planted in any heart, germinates and grows to produce bitter fruits. Proverb 14:30 says that a heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. It works on the conscience and suppresses it, Mark 7: 21 -22 caps it all. It can produce murder as in the case of Cain who killed Abel. It can cause personal or generational destruction as in the case of Korah and his company, they were swallowed up by the earth. Saul envied David and was killed in the battle, Joseph was sold out by his own brothers. It produces disunity and discouragement, David’s brother discouraged him not to confront Goliath. It sows discord among brethren and engenders pride, produces a tensed environment, breaks homes and destroys ministries. (James 3:16). Envy can lead to eternity in hell fire if not repented of before too late.This seed thrives naturally in the heart of men but Christians can be free through sanctification of the heart. We also need to guard our heart carefully against this evil.
God Has given us the grace as His children and new creatures in Him, to overcome the temptation to be envious. He enables us to be free from all envy as we surrender to Him. It is not our efforts that makes us free from this work of the flesh, but His divine grace. We should however not continue to entertain and nurture envy (or any sin at all) in our hearts, that grace may abound. We need to see our lives beyond this world’s prosperity and fame, and put under control all fleshy desires as Paul testified, “I am crucified with Christ, it is no longer I that live but Christ lives in me …” (Galatians 2:20). Beloved, let us guide our hearts carefully against all sins, envy inclusive. May God help us to live right in His sight always. Amen.