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Four Ways Envy Damages Your Life
By Rick Warren

“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing.” James 3:16 (AMP)

The number one thing that holds you back from God’s purpose and mission for your life is a very subtle sin. It’s not lust, pride, or anger. It’s not worry, fear, or discouragement. In fact, you probably would never even think of it. It’s so sneaky that you often don’t realize its damaging effect on your life.

What is it? It’s envy.

When you envy other people, your attention is fixed on what you don’t have and what you are not. As a result, you totally miss God’s plan for you.

To eliminate envy from your life, you need to understand four ways envy can damage you.

1. Envy denies your uniqueness.

Psalm 139:13-16 says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb . . . Your workmanship is marvelous . . . You watched me as I was . . . woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT).  

God didn’t make you to be like somebody else. God made you to be you. But envy blinds you to your own giftedness and uniqueness.

2. Envy divides your attention.

You can’t follow God’s purpose and focus on other people at the same time. You get a divided allegiance, and then you don’t get anything done in your life.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (NLT).

3. Envy wastes your time and energy.

The Bible explains this best: “I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have. But it is useless. It is like chasing the wind . . . Here is someone who lives alone. He has no son, no brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard . . . ? This is useless, too—and a miserable way to live” (Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 GNT).

4. Envy leads to every other sin. 

Envy can destroy everything and everyone around you. The Bible says, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing” (James 3:16 AMP).

At the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. Envy is a heart problem.

Envy also is a form of worship. So any time you are envious, your worship has become misguided. Envy says, “I desire that. I want that. I love that. I want to live for that.” Those are also the same kinds of phrases you use when you worship. And when you’re worshiping something other than God, you’re worshiping an idol.

Are you ready to eliminate envy from your life? Start by asking yourself these questions: “What am I worshiping? Am I worshiping God and thanking him for his grace in my life? Or am I worshiping a lifestyle, possessions, or popularity?”

When you trust that God knows what’s best for you and that he will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 NIV), then envy will evaporate from your life.

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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