Never Satisfied & Always Wanting More: Uncovering the Deadly Sin of Envy

 Photo by  daryl_Mitchell

As Christians and followers of Christ, we are all on the same playing field. The reality is that we have been saved by the rich-redeeming grace of Jesus, and we are in constant, daily need of this grace because of our sinful tendencies and actions. 

One deadly sin that needs to be addressed and attacked with God’s grace and power is envy. Regardless of our situation and circumstance, we all struggle with envy to some extent because we are naturally selfish apart from God’s work in our lives. Thomas Aquinas defined envy as: “Sorrow for another’s good,” and Jonathan Edwards wrote: “Envy is a spirit of opposition to other’s comparative happiness or the happiness of others considered as compared with their own.”1

Four Symptoms of Envy

While we all, for the most part, recognize that envy is a real struggle, seldom do we realize the symptoms of the envy in our life. Here are four you might have in your own life:

  1. Comparison
  2. Criticizing and Complaining
  3. Ingratitude
  4. Hatred2

Envy begins to take root in our lives when we begin to dwell on the lives of others and what they have rather than our own lives and what God has given us. 

The Cure for Envy

1. Recognize the Problem

We cannot take steps of improvement in our lives if we do not first recognize our need to do so. Pride is a huge catalyst for envy and must first be recognized and destroyed in order for envy to be to be as well. Every Christian is in need of help from the Holy Spirit, and we must first acknowledge and embrace that need that we were created for.

2. Turn to God’s Word

Scripture is the ultimate antidote for fighting sin in our lives. Romans 12:15 is a simple, yet powerful passage to claim in regards to destroying the sin of envy. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” It is when we find joy in what God is doing in the lives of others that in return we become more grateful for what God is doing in our own lives.  

3. Claim the Gospel

The gospel of Jesus puts everything into perspective. As we tap into the power of the gospel, all other problems seem so insignificant. Because Jesus died for us, we do not, nor can we fight battles on our own. We simply submit to Him, and watch Him work.  Envy stands no chance against the truth and power of the gospel and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. Let’s submit to Him daily, and claim the power that we have access to through the work and relationship of Jesus Christ.

1Quotes found in Brian G. Hedges, Hit List: Taking Aim at the Seven Deadly Sins (Minneapolis: Cruciform, 2014), 36.

2Ibid., 38-42.