Thankfulness: An Antidote to Envy

by Paul Tautges | November 5, 2011 10:07 am

As I was thinking about the Thanksgiving season it occurred to me that one of the things that prevents us from being truly thankful is the sin of envy. Let’s take some moments to counsel one another about envy and our need for a grateful heart.

DEFINITIONS OF ENVY: Webster’s defines envy as, “a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another’s advantages.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says phthonos (translated “envy”) means, “the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others, this evil sense always attaches to this word.” Biblically speaking, envy is the product of a depraved mind (Rom 1:28-29), a fruit of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21), and a sin that we must actively put off (1 Peter 2:1-3).  If envy is a regular part of our lives it is evidence of walking in the flesh, not the Spirit, and always hinders our spiritual growth.

CAUSES OF ENVY: The NT epistles indicate at least four causes of envy.

NEGATIVE RESULTS OF ENVY: The Bible recognizes at least four destructive consequences of envy. 

PREVENTING ENVY: The following are three steps of preventative maintenance for every believer. By applying these principles, we will rid our lives of existing envy and guard our hearts from its subtle intrusion, thus avoiding its tragic consequences. Let’ s counsel one another with these truths.

As people who are actively engaged in a battle against the flesh we must recognize the base nature of envy and put it aside–repent of it. As we learn to nurture thankful, content, and rejoicing hearts; the peace of God and the joy of the Lord will be our strength.

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