«But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic» (James 3:14, 15).
Lucifer was jealous of God. Although he had been created perfect, Lucifer chose to «stew» in envy until his whole being was filled with bitterness. Lucifer did not choose to repent, and thus, he became Satan. Envy is the home of the devil; it is its sovereign territory, its natural habitat. When we feed envy, when we let it grow, we venture dangerously into enemy terrain (or rather, the enemy captures territory in our hearts).
To be safe, it is essential that we learn to identify feelings of envy as soon as they arise and not feed them. We must starve envy! Envy demands, with violent voracity, that we not admit our mistakes, that we look good before the people, and that we murder our rivals with words or deeds (Genesis 4:4, 5). In fact, it was envy that prevented many religious leaders from recognizing Jesus as Messiah, and in the end, they decided to kill Him (see John 12:19; Mark 15:10).
«When you give in to envy, you allow Satan to manifest himself in you,» wrote R. T. Kendall. However, «when you produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is because you allow Jesus to manifest Himself in you.» When other women are praised for their talent, beauty, or youth, and I feel that discomfort in the pit of my stomach, I have two options: 1) I can give in to envy and write a mental list of all their flaws or 2) I can admit that I am envious and talk to God about it. I can decide to bless those I envy. I can choose to be happy with who I am and what I have.
Envy is not satisfied until all aspects of our lives are contaminated by its bitterness, Envy makes us increasingly insecure and competitive and destroys vital connections with others. Christ is our only Refuge. In the most horrible deformity of our sin, His compassion shines more beautiful and pure. Every time you feel envious, go to Jesus. He won’t cast you out.
Lord Jesus, please deliver me from envy. Give me the wisdom to detect the nature of my emotions and obedience to surrender them to You. If I have allowed roots of selfishness and bitterness to grow in my heart, please uproot them and fill me with Your Spirit.