4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love does not envy or boast. When you are envious or boastful, the focus is on you. God calls us to love others as He loves us and to put others before ourselves, so He includes envy and boasting as things love is not.
People tend to consider jealousy and envy as synonyms or they use them interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same. Jealous occurs when something we already possess, typically a relationship, is threatened by another person. Envy occurs when we lack something that someone has has - whether it’s a relationship, a lifestyle, looks, job, etc. So envy is a discontent with our current situation, instead it is desiring another’s situation.
It’s important to distinguish between the two because they evoke different responses and their relationship to sin is very different. We know that God is a jealous God, so there must be times when jealousy is acceptable. The jealousy of God for His holy name and for the exclusive worship of His people is sanctified. God’s desire is always that the reunion is restored. His jealousy does not separate, but works to bring us back by revealing to us the things that compete for our attention.
We have been given the emotion of jealousy by God for similar purposes. Sanctified jealousy is the proper response of a husband or wife whose trust has been violated through infidelity. When an exclusive relationship, such as a husband and a wife, is dishonored sanctified jealousy is the passionate zeal that fights to restore that holy union. The purpose of jealousy is to restore a broken union - not destroy it. So when jealousy is destructive, it is sin. Be very wary, our world has taught us to feel jealous in ways and times that are sinful, and sometimes we imagine situations that evoke a jealous emotion that are just not there because we have had experiences in our past that impact our ability to see a situation clearly.
Envy, on the other hand, is always sin. Since envy is discontentment with the situation God has placed us in, it is always sin. There is never an exception. When you complain about your life, or display envy, you are not trusting God with the plan of your life. Complaining is a direct affront to the God we profess to love. It is disobedience because it communicates to God that He made a mistake - we know what’s best for our lives, He does not. We think he should be giving us something that He is not. Envy denies the sovereignty and wisdom of God and exalts our own wisdom and sovereignty.
The harsh reality is that we all experience envy throughout our week, whether we care to admit it or not. Anytime we complain about our life or situation, about a relationship or our job, anytime we long to have something different, we are experience envy...and we are telling God He is wrong. It’s not wrong when it’s a fleeting thought, but it is sin when we dwell on it. We need to capture those thoughts as they come to our minds and make them obedient to Christ.
Love does not envy. We express love when we do not complain to those in our lives, about them or to them. Love accepts who we are with as a blessing, and is thankful for those He has brought into our lives. Love does not look to others lives and wish ours was different, but accepts our situation as what God determines is best for our lives.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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