Don’t be so jealous

~ adapted from Lecture VI of Charity and Its Fruits
“Charity inconsistent with an envious spirit”
by Jonathan Edwards

Love does not want what it doesn’t have…
1 Corinthians 13:4b (The Message)

envyBased on 1 Corinthians 13:4, Jonathan Edwards has discussed how love handles evil (it is patient), and how love does good (it is kind).

Now he shows how love handles things, your own and others.

“As an envious disposition is most hateful in itself,
so it is most uncomfortable and uneasy to its possessor.”
 

When your friend gets the guy, are you happy for her? When your co-worker gets the raise you wanted, how do you respond? Do you secretly long for the rich to be brought down? Do you carry a grudge against the woman who is prettier, skinnier, happier, healthier?

If so, what is it?
It is envy.
Envy hurts. It hurts the person you envy. It hurts you. It hurts God.

1. Do you compare?
Envy is being unhappy with what you have, compared to what someone else has. Man’s base tendency is, “I want more.” 

How do you know if you’re envying?

  • When others prosper, you become uneasy.
    Instead of being happy, you’re troubled. You may talk badly about them, or even actively try to bring them down. (Remember Haman in Esther 5:13?)
  • And when others hit trouble, you’re not sad. 
  • You dislike the successful.
    Just because. Maybe for no other reason than that they are thriving. (Remember how Joseph’s brothers disliked him because their father honored him? Genesis 37:4-5)

2. Opposite of envy = Love
Love won’t allow expressions of envy.
When you feel that yucky feeling of envy arising in your heart, do you hate it because it goes against God’s nature? Do you fight against it? Don’t allow yourself to indulge it, even for a moment.

Love not only passively opposes envy, it actively destroys it.
How? By actively cultivating contentment with where God has you right now.

Love lets you be happy (really!) when others prosper.
A spirit of love allows you to rejoice with the rejoicing and weep with the weeping (Romans 12:15).

3. God’s proof
The Bible preaches against envy and for love.
Christ’s message is full of good-will to others—of meekness, humility, goodness (opposites of envy). And warnings against envy itself (Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:19-21; Titus 3:3; James 3:16; 1 Peter 2:1). 

God demonstrates it.
God has withheld nothing good from you, not even his only-begotten and well-beloved Son. He has begrudged you nothing. He gave you Christ to deliver you from Satan’s power of envy toward your and your happiness.

Christ’s example proves it.
Christ’s attitude was the opposite of envy. He refused high honors that were due him (John 6:15). He was baptized by a sinner (Matthew 3:13-15). And he promised that his followers would do even greater works than his own (John 14:12).

4. So get rid of envy
Directly.
Stop holding grudges. Be happy with others instead, because you love them and you love God, and you want to obey his command forbidding envy.

Indirectly.
What is the source of envy? Pride. So seek humility instead. Increase in humility, and you’ll decrease in envy.

Let, then, the consideration of the foolishness, the baseness, the infamy of so wicked a spirit, cause us to abhor it, and to shun its excuses, and earnestly to seek the spirit of Christian love, that excellent spirit of divine charity which will lead us always to rejoice in the welfare of others, and which will fill our own hearts with happiness.

* * *
COMING NEXT:
Lecture VII: Love is humble

Previous chapters
Laurie’s notes, Lecture VI, Part 1

1 comment:

Dorothy said...

Thanks for the reminder, Lisa.

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