8 Ways to Overcome and Live a Life Free from Envy
Envy is inevitable in this world of materialism, competitions, factions and divisions. It is working at home, workplace, schools, communities or any places and races. 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 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 troubles to anyone. The bible has a lot of warning concerning this troublemaker. We should not envy sinners, our neighbors, or our fellow believers. Satan use 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 a 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 in want. (Philippians 4:11-12)
Paul instruct Timothy to live a godly life with contentment not eager for material gain to avoid griefs and destruction. He also tell 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 whatever God provided us. We should be grateful to all things our heavenly Father has given us. We should not envy the things, talents,fame and accomplishments of our neighbors. Discontentment open our heart and mind for 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 have 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, do thanking to our heavenly provider to avoid discontentment. Discontentment feeds on envy. God's provisions and works will be taken for granted if envy resides on 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 an exact knowledge about needs and wants. The desire of the sinful nature of man was unlimited. It can even derailed a Christian from the path of godliness (1 Timothy `6:10). The world we live was full of cravings, wants or desires aiming to 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 on things we need in life, things that can give glory to him, not on things coming from evil motive. 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 wrong motive, they ask because of pleasures not because they really 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 is very important for a happy life, if it is set on 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 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 companies, business establishments, homes, and celebrity personalities hired security or body guards to secure their lives and properties from criminal elements. Police and military forces were guardians of every nations to counteract internal and external threats.
Our heart and mind also must have a guardians. We should install the peace of God to guard our heart and mind. Without this guard, envy can easily enter into our life, 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 envy killer. Proverbs warn us about the effect of envy and teaching us that we should have peace to avoid this effect. Paul encourage 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 for envy. We should put this guardian on our life in order 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. They are in 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 led his life to the right path. Paul speaks to the Galatians that they should live and led by the Spirit of God, not to the desires of the sinful nature to avoid inner conflict. There is war inside us between the Spirit and the 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 the sinful nature. If the 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 do 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 no harm to his neighbor in his mind and heart, words and actions. We are not loving our neighbor if we conceals envy in our heart. Love is not envious and covetous. We should use the power of love to overcome and hinder envy's entrance in our heart. To live an envy free life we should learn to love. Love thwarts envy.
7. Know the main purpose of life
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of 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 formed and made us to have a material wealth and possessions, to have a high tech gadgets, cars, and condominiums. He did not made us to became famous or to become a celebrity. He did not create us to be a good looking man. He did not create us to have a worldly success. God created us for his glory. The main purpose of living is to glorify God. The kingdom of God is not base on materialism and worldliness but on righteousness and godliness. Prophet Isaiah and Paul shows their audience about the main purpose of life. If we do not know the main purpose of life, we cannot escape from envy's hand. We should know the our life's purpose to overcome and live a life free from ency. Life's main purpose breaks down envy.
Do you know your God?
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 he 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 ask 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 with his God. He knows that his God is not poor, but have a glorious riches in Christ Jesus that will supply the needs of the Philippian church. It is very important that we should know our God to overcome and live a life free from envy. God ends envy.