Weekly Devotional: The Root of Envy

Woman looking sad with couple talking in background

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

Envy is a heartbreaking emotion. It’s hurt, insecurity and loneliness disguised as anger, bitterness and resentment. Becoming envious causes loneliness and isolation for everyone involved – the one experiencing the envy firsthand, as well as the one that someone is envious of. Envy invites comparison of relationships, success, status or image and can make you feel unknown and uncared for, even by those you once were close to.

Envious emotions are not productive. They never get you to where you want to be in your career and they don’t earn you the relationships you desire. In fact, envy often puts all of those things at risk. Envy is consuming, and it doesn’t take long before you lose yourself in the constant and relentless comparisons, all while cultivating a bitterness and hatred toward people in your life, sometimes the very people you once loved and appreciated. This emotion also has the ability to villainize people, convincing you that there are people in this world out to harm you, when that may not be the case at all. Envy is a mind game with our sinful nature and it is not a game that we will ever win on our own.

Before anyone can remove or move past their issues of envy, we have to consider what the root of it is. In almost every case, envy arises when we are experiencing dissatisfaction in our own lives. It’s when we so badly desire and yearn for success, connection or affection from others, and we don’t get it. And on top of that, you watch someone else, usually someone you believe doesn’t deserve it as much as you, receive it in plenty. Envy also, at its core, comes from the lack of belief that God is all powerful, cares about you deeply and has wonderful plans for your life.

So, what can we do to combat envy, and its root causes of dissatisfaction and lack of faith? Remind yourself of who God is! Choose to believe it, and if you’re struggling, ask God for the wisdom and understanding (James 1:5). Psalm 37:1-7 echoes many truths about who God is, as well as His promises. Read it and let its words settle in your heart:

“Do not fret because of those who are evil

or be envious of those who do wrong;

for like the grass they will soon wither,

like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit you way to the Lord;

trust in Him and He will do this:

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,

your vindication like the noonday sun.”

These verses are just some of many examples throughout the Bible that remind us that God knows exactly who we are. He knows your heart and the desires it holds. Continue to trust in Him and to serve Him, no matter what others are doing and no matter what their circumstances are. Pray and ask for gratitude, to be reminded of the beauty in your life and for the belief in God and His perfect plan. He is eager to shift your heart toward Him and to give you everything you need and want in Him!

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.