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8 Ways to Overcome and Live a Life Free from Envy

Rosualdo is just an ordinary person with an extraordinary God, who wants to spread God’s words and love through writing articles and poems.


Envy is inevitable in this world of materialism, competitions, factions, and divisions. It is working at home, workplace, schools, communities, or any place and race. Even in the church, we can see the craftiness of envy is at work. There are lots of troubled lives everywhere because of this kind of sin dominating inside the heart of man and poisoning the mind. Envy as a noun means a feeling of discontent or covetousness about another’s advantage, success, or possession. It also means a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantagey. Envy as a verb means to want for yourself somethings that belongs to another person. Envy's famous whisper; "They have and you don't have". This whisper will always inject the mind and heart to bring trouble to anyone. The bible has a lot of warnings concerning this troublemaker (Galatians 5:21) (Proverbs 14:30).

Most hard works and achievements are motivated by envy (Ecclesiastes 4:4). Envy can lead to cruel actions against our neighbors. Envy pushed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into Egypt (Acts 7:9). Envy fueled Paul’s adversaries in Thessalonica to start a riot to hinder the gospel (Acts 17:5). Envy drove the chief priests to hand over Jesus to be crucified (Mark 15:10). Satan uses this sin to hinder the progress of the Gospel, by creating chaos among believers. Christians should get rid of this sin from their life so that they can escape from the devastating effect of this sin.


8 Ways to Overcome and Live a Life Free from Envy

1. Learn to be content

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or want. (Philippians 4:11-12)

Paul instructs Timothy to live a godly life with contentment not eager for material gain to avoid griefs and destruction. He also tells the Philippian church about his life of contentment in any or every situation. We can repel or uproot envy by contentment. We should be content with whatever God provided us. We should be grateful for all things our heavenly Father has given us. We should not envy the things, talents, fame, and accomplishments of our neighbors. Discontentment opens our hearts and mind to envy's venom. We can never appreciate the awesome provisions of the Lord in our life because of discontentment. Most discontentment is fueled by envy when someone looks at the scarcity of things he has and the abundance of things others have. By comparing two things will happen; pride and envy. When someone exceeds the other, pride will rise, but when someone is below the other, envy and discontentment builds up. Instead of comparing, give thanks to our heavenly provider to avoid discontentment. Discontentment feeds on envy. God's provisions and works will be taken for granted if envy resides in us. We should use contentment to overcome and live a life free from envy. Contentment conquers envy.


2. Learn to simplify your life

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)

We should have a piece of exact knowledge about needs and wants. The desire of the sinful nature of man was unlimited. It can even derail a Christian from the path of godliness (1 Timothy `6:10). The world we live in was full of cravings, wants, or desires aiming at the world's bestseller menu; wealth, success, beauty, and fame. We should simplify our life by focusing on what we need not what we want. We should ask God for things we need in life, things that can give glory to him, not things coming from evil motives. If we don't know to simplify our life we are putting it to an envy or trouble mode status. James rebuked believers who ask God for things coming from the wrong motive, they ask because of pleasures not because they need it. Our Lord Jesus Christ set an example of a life of humility and simplicity. Envy makes life complex and hard. We should simplify our life to overcome and live a life free from envy. Simplicity kills envy.


3. Set your heart and mind on things above (the spiritual things)

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)

Heart and mindset are very important for a happy life if it is set in the right direction. Paul taught the Colossian believers to have a heart and mindset on spiritual things, the things above not on earthly things because they been raised with Christ. We should focus our life on holiness, not on worldliness. A Christian is a citizen of heaven and a member of God's household (Ephesians 2:19), not of the world. We cannot escape envy if our life is set on materialism and worldly affairs. We should have a heavenly ambition, not a worldly ambition to overcome and live a life free from envy. Heavenly ambition kicks off envy.


4. Let the peace of God guard your heart and mind

A heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Every big company, business establishment, home, and celebrity personality hired security or bodyguards to secure their lives and properties from criminal elements. Police and military forces were guardians of every nation to counteract internal and external threats.

Our heart and mind also must have a guardian. We should install the peace of God to guard our hearts and mind. Without this guard, envy can easily enter our lives, creating more troubles and havoc. Envy is a peace extinguisher. We should not let this peace be taken away by envy; instead, we use it as an envy killer. Proverbs warn us about the effect of envy and teach us that we should have peace to avoid this effect. Paul encourages the Philippians not to be anxious, but they should pray, present their request to God and they will have the peace of God as guardian of their heart and mind. The peace of God is not only our guardian for worry but also envy. We should put this guardian in our life to overcome and live an envy-free life. The peace of God is our mind and heart's protector against envy.


5. Live by the Holy Spirit

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. The conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18)

Man's life must have a director or a driver, to direct and lead his life to the right path. Paul speaks to the Galatians that they should live and be led by the Spirit of God, not to the desires of the sinful nature to avoid inner conflict. There is a war inside us between the Spirit and sinful nature. We should choose the Holy Spirit as our director or driver of our life, not the fallen nature. Envy is one of the acts of sinful nature. If sinful nature direct or drive our heart we will live a life full of envy and full of troubles. To overcome and live a life free from envy we should live by the Spirit, and choose the Spirit as our master. The Holy Spirit destroys envy.


6. Learn to love

Love does not envy. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

If a man does not know how to love his neighbor, he knows envy. We should learn to love anyone, even if it is our enemy (Luke 6:27). It is the second greatest commandment of God. Love does not harm his neighbor in his mind and heart, words, and actions. We are not loving our neighbor if we conceal envy in our hearts. Love is not envious and covetous. We should not let envy take the place of love in our hearts instead we should use the power of love to overcome and hinder envy's entrance into our hearts. To live an envy-free life we should learn to love. Love thwarts envy.


7. Know the main purpose and things in life

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. (Isaiah 43:7)

God created man in His likeness and image for a purpose. He did not form and made us just to have material wealth and possessions, to have high-tech gadgets, cars, and condominiums. He did not make us just to become famous or to become a celebrity. He did not create us just to be good-looking men. He did not create us just to have worldly success. God created us for his glory. The main purpose of living is to glorify God. The main thing in life is the spiritual thing. The kingdom of God is not based on materialism and worldliness but on righteousness and godliness. Prophet Isaiah and Paul show their audience about the main purpose and things in life. If we do not know the main purpose and things in life, we cannot escape from envy's hands. We should know our life's purpose and life’s main thing to overcome and live a life free from envy. Life's main purpose and the main thing break down envy.


8. Know your God

I am the Lord, the God of mankind. Is anything hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27)

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Envy will only tell men what things they lack or don't have. It will tell us that others have an abundance and we have not. It will say, others have 10 wives and you have not, others have mansions and you don't have, others were famous and you are not, others were good looking and you are not. Envy will not tell us that we have an omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent God, the provider of all things. The living God is more than enough. He is our everything and our satisfaction.

God asks the prophet, Jeremiah, if there is anything too hard for him to do. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37) because he is all-powerful. We should be like Paul, who knows his God very well. His words, "And my God", denote a strong knowledge of his God. He knows that his God is not poor, but has glorious riches in Christ Jesus that will supply the needs of the Philippian church. We must know our God to overcome and live a life free from envy. God ends envy.


When we turn green with envy, we are ripe for trouble. Envy should not be the driving force of our Christian life but our living God. Let us overcome and live a life free from envy with the guidance of the word of God. An envy-free life is a sin-free life.

© 2015 Rosualdo Ponce

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