THE FRUIT OF THE FLESH (ENVY)

OVERCOMING ENVY

This morning I begin the first email in a series of the fruits of the flesh. I will try to manage the lengths of these emails so you won’t be bored reading. I am writing with an open mind and the thoughts expressed in the emails are in no way personal or directed to anyone. This is who the “cap fits wear it”. My brothers and sisters of The Mystical Order it is again a privilege to be in your homes, pockets or wherever technology meets you.

All of us have had to cope with feelings of jealousy or envy. In fact, it is common to hear someone say, “Oh, I’m so jealous of her/him!” A statement like this usually indicates a harmless level of feeling. Too often, though, envy or jealousy is a serious matter, and usually when it is, the person involved doesn’t talk about it. They become consumed with intense feelings that seriously affect the way they think and feel about the person who they are jealous of.

In these emails, we will see how serious this emotion is and examine the biblical steps for dealing with it. We have to have an open mind to receive the truths of God’s word. My brothers and sisters of The Mystical Order this word is for all of us to live by and to walk according to our vocation.

SO WHAT IS ENVY?

Envy is a feeling of jealousy and resentment that arises when we become aware that another person is enjoying an advantage or blessing that we wish was ours. Envy can be experienced in different degrees of intensity. It is usually felt more acutely toward people that are closer to us. We rarely feel intense envy when hearing of someone’s good fortune that we don’t know. There is great potential for envy in relation to those people we feel a competition with. Once envy takes root in our heart, it becomes very destructive. Proverbs 27:4 says, “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but WHO IS ABLE TO STAND BEFORE ENVY?”

WHAT IS IT’S SOURCE?

Galatians 5:21 identifies “envying” as one of the works of the flesh. This emotion rises from our old sin nature.

The tendency of the old nature is to put “me first” ahead of both God and others. Romans 12:10 teaches that we should “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.”Envy demonstrates the exact opposite of this. We want the best for ourselves and actually begin desiring the worst for the one that we envy. Envious thoughts run contrary to the mind and will of God.

WHAT DOES ENVY DO?

I. ENVY HURTS YOU

“ENVY SLAYS THE SIMPLE” –Job 5:2,

Our jealousy of others works to destroy us in several ways:

1. Envy produces self-centeredness – Though the object of our envy is someone else, it produces a total absorption with ourselves. Self-centeredness always brings unhappiness and inner turmoil. Through it, we lose objectivity and our ability to reason fairly. The scriptures teach that “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones”-Proverbs 14:30

2. Envy will progress to other stages – Sin and self-preoccupation do not remain at the same level.
Left unchecked, they begin a downward spiral. Envy easily progresses to self-pity, anger, bitterness, and even depression. The psalmist writes, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps hard well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish…” –Psalms 73:2,3 . In this Psalm, this man had allowed envy and self-pity to bring him to the brink of rebellion against God.

3. Envy will destroy our relationship with God – We become angry that God has blessed someone else instead of us. We feel that He has passed over us and our desires. We begin to complain and murmur about our station in life. This attitude poisons our relationship with God. We take our mind off the goal of seeing Jesus and we look at our brothers and sisters. We work overtime to fins the past of our brothers and sisters and many times we left our closets open. Yes all because we envy the innocent, someone that is working to please God and to serve Him.

ENVY HURTS OTHERS

The Bible teaches “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” –James 3:16. Envy is a dangerous passion that can cause us to strike out and hurt the person we are envious of. Let’s examine some of the outworkings of envy. I know about this attribute of the flesh first hand and you should be aware of it. How many people got hurt recently because someone envy them? Were you one on the receiving end?

1. ENVY LEADS TO STRIFE
“But if ye have BITTER ENVYING AND STRIFE in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth” –James 3:14

Envy and strife go hand in hand. We usually will not admit to others or even ourselves that we are envious. Instead, we “lie… against the truth.” We find other reasons that will justify our ill feelings toward the person. When this happens, the result is confusion and strife.

2. ENVY LEADS TO SLANDER

“To SPEAK EVIL of no man…” –Titus 3:2

This is how I will defines slander, as “speaking the truth with a decision to hurt.”

Once envy gets hold of the tongue, it becomes a deadly little weapon. James 3:6 tells us that the tongue is “set on fire of hell.” We will find ourselves saying just the right things about the person we envy in order to discredit their reputation. We can even make our motivation for sharing these negative statements appear spiritual. Underneath it all, we are striking out at that person. The “truths” that we share are designed to hurt them.

3. ENVY LEADS TO CRUELTY

“And his brethren envied him… and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.” –Genesis 37:11,28
Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. His brethren were jealous and developed a hatred for him. Joseph received a dream from God and recited it to his family. The implications were that they would be subservient to him. This infuriated his brethren all the more. They finally sold him into slavery to a band of Ishmaelites. Yes believers this is what happen in the church for position and power when people want to be in control and fail to see what God is doing in the lives of your brethren. Today people do not want to humble themselves and walk in the fear of the Lord. Ask them simple questions about the role of leadership in the church and they are at a lost. You will find out the results later. Envy may cause us to behave in a very cruel way. We may even devise plots whereby we can hurt the one we envy. Whatever the outworkings, envy will always put a “yoke of bondage” on the object of its cruelty.

4. ENVY LEADS TO REBELLION

“They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord” –Psalms 106:16 Envy can lead us to rebellion against those in positions of spiritual oversight. This Psalm is speaking about an incident which occurred in the journeys of the children of Israel to the land of Canaan. Korah led a revolt against Moses, claiming that he was assuming too much authority. No one wants to work but just to climb on the back of the willing to clap their chest and say “look what I have achieve” yet sit clueless.

After all attempts to change the mind of Korah had failed, the Lord had to respond with a severe judgment. The earth opened and swallowed Korah and the others responsible for the revolt. We must guard our heart against a rebellious attitude that is based upon envy. I have always admonish you to be careful with God and His servants. STOP fighting God’s children. Just as you cannot take too much, you can move the hand of God against you.

5. ENVY LEADS TO MURDER

“For he knew that FOR ENVY THEY HAD DELIVERED HIM” –Matthew 27:18

The destructive nature of envy reached its peak when it motivated the religious leaders of Israel to seek Christ’s death. Even Pilate, the Roman governor, knew that Jesus did not deserve this judgment.From the above verse, we see that he easily read the motivation behind their actions. From what happened to Jesus, we can learn several more things about envy. First, we are likely to feel envy toward those who excel in our area of service. Secondly, envy may cause us to strike out at those who become popular and gain a following. Finally, envy will prompt us to eliminate those who threaten us. Envy destroy a person who prays and makes supplication to God, being knowledgeable of the word of God causes others to envy you because of the way God use you.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”-1 Peter 2:1

The Christian is commanded to get rid of all envy in his life. It is a work of the flesh, and will poison both the life of the individual and the life of the church. We are told in Galatians 5:26 not to “be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” The believer is to be perfected in the love of God, and this love “envieth not” -1 Cor.13:4. Victory over envy is your responsibility. You can rid yourself of this destruction passion. Continue reading, I have listed the five things that should be done in order to effectively deal with envy.

I. REPENT

“IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” –1 John 1:9 Envy is sin. We have seen its destructive pattern and effects. We cannot treat this area of sin lightly in our lives. It will grow like a cancer. As soon as you become conscious of envy in your heart, identify it and confess it to God. Be specific. Define exactly what it is and who it involves. Ask God to forgive you and to cleanse your mind from those thoughts associated with it. Determine to resist any further feelings of envy, should they come back.

II. REJOICE

“REJOICE with them that do rejoice” –Romans 12:15 This is the hard part because of our sins towards your brothers and sisters. It sometimes appear that you are rejoicing, but in fact you are setting a plot or devising a wicked plan. Victory over sin requires both a putting off of old attitudes, and a putting on of new ones. We must reject our sin and yield to truth and love. In this case, our envy is based upon being jealous over another person’s blessing. In our response, we are actually rejecting God. God chose to bless another person. We are refusing to rejoice in the will of God being done in that person’s life. We must now thank God for what He has done and wait before Him in prayer until we see our situation from God’s perspective.

III. RECONCILE

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. FIRST GO AND BE RECONCILED TO YOUR BROTHER” -Matt.5:23,24 As we have seen, we usually strike out at the person we are envious of. If this has been the case, it is our responsibility to correct the harm that has been done. We need to go to those with whom we have shared slanderous information and apologize. If we have openly hurt or mistreated the person we were envious of, then we must go to them and ask for forgiveness.

IV. ACCEPT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

“HUMBLE YOURSELVES therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” –1 Peter 5:6. The Lord has infinite wisdom and understanding. He knows everything about you. We are told that “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30). His mighty hand controls the destiny of the entire earth. The circumstances of your life are also under His authority.Therefore, we should accept our circumstances and life situation without begrudging. We must give Him praise with faith in our hearts that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

V. DEVELOP YOUR GIFTS

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt.25:23). The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 reveals some very important points. The Lord gives each of us certain gifts, talents, and abilities. We are only responsible for what He gives to us. If we are to be pleasing to God, we must develop and use our own gifts. Since the church was not given to you why are you going to fight Peter? It is simple not your gift. You cannot clean the church but you envy to Bishop that ministers the word. You expose others past life because of envy. Often, we are envious of others for advancements or privileges that they have earned. God has blessed them for their diligence and faithfulness with what He has given them. Likewise, if we cultivate and use our abilities and gifts, we will also receive the blessing.

IN CONCLUSION

The outworkings of envy are never good. If we will deal with envy with the harshness and honesty that it deserves, we will be delivered from it. A victory over envy will increase our capacity to love others. We must turn envy into a genuine appreciation for the gifts and talents of others. We must also learn to respect God’s right to bless whoever or wherever He chooses. All of this is part of the highest privilege of being conformed to the image of Christ.

Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head

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Author: Godfrey Gregg