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Envy and jealousy

15 January 2024 ‘Let us have…no envy of one another.’ Galatians 5:26 RSV

Paul warned the early church about envy, and it’s still a problem. A friend gets better exam results, a co-worker gets promoted, a neighbour gets a new car. Do you rejoice with them, or force a tight smile? We’re human; an occasional flicker of envy is normal. But beware of harbouring a lingering sense of being cheated. The Roman historian Tacitus said, ‘When men are full of envy, they disparage everything…good or bad.’ When somebody else prospers, before you think, ‘It should have been me,’ ask yourself if you’d be responding the same way if some tragedy had happened to them. Jealousy is like a moth; it nibbles away at clothes until they’re ruined, except envy destroys irreplaceable things like relationships and families. One author reminds us: ‘When we’re…in the valley, it is human to envy those…[on] the mountaintops. It is easy to forget [they] didn’t fall there – they climbed there. Behind the success story is always a courageous decision and a gallant action…If we want to reach them…we have to…climb. Inspiration from someone else may get us started, but the success is in the climbing.’ Imagine a runner striding out; they’re fast, focused, and ahead of the pack. Then they start looking at the competition. Before long they stumble, lose momentum, and drop out. That’s what happens when you let jealousy distract you from completing the course God mapped out for you. Paul writes, ‘You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?’ (Galatians 5:7 NIV). Keep your eye on the prize, and don’t get distracted by what others have and don’t have. Remember that you have God!

Archive

Armed for spiritual warfare (2) Saturday 24 February
Armed for spiritual warfare (1) Friday 23 February
Don’t doubt God Thursday 22 February
Hypocrisy Wednesday 21 February
The ‘most important’ thing Tuesday 20 February
The breaking process (3) Monday 19 February
The breaking process (2) Sunday 18 February

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