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Envy is a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another's advantages, possessions, or success.

It's an experience we've all had at one time or another. It is so common, in fact, most people think it is no big deal. They see it as just a harmless, human emotion. But they are gravely mistaken.

As innocent as it may sometimes seem, envy is actually the devil's own poison, designed to turn love into hate, and immobilize the force of faith in your life. If you want to see how deadly envy can be, just take a look through the scriptures. Find out where it comes from - and more alarming than that - where it is headed. Once you do, you'll want to rid yourself of it once and for all.

Envy's Sly Nature
There are many times, we aren't even conscious of envy. We may feel it stirring within us, but we fail to identify it because we assume such feelings are "only natural." Actually, "natural" is precisely what envy is. It's part of what the Bible calls the "natural or carnal mind." It's a mind programmed by the devil to be in direct opposition to God.

Another biblical term for it is "the flesh." Envy is listed as a "work of the flesh" in Galatians 5, and it's put alongside some other very serious sins including: "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings" (vv. 19-21).

That's not exactly a pretty list, is it? Most believers would never purposely engage in any of those fleshly activities. How then does envy get into our lives? It sneaks in without announcing itself. It slips in unnoticed. It's sly.

Hitting Close To Home
Suppose you see Sister Jones in a beautiful new dress. As you sit down next to her, you notice how dowdy your dress is compared to hers. Suddenly you feel like someone's ugly stepsister. You may not think much more about it - consciously. But later, you notice you're a little irritated or depressed. You can't quite put your finger on why you feel that way. After all, you were having a good day until a little while ago.

What happened?

I'll tell you what happened. Envy crept in and poisoned you with a feeling of ill will and discontent because of another's success or advantages. Envy made a move on you. Notice I said it made a move on you, not in you. That's an important distinction.

You see, if you're a born-again believer, envy is not a part of your spiritual nature. It's something the devil tries to pressure you into receiving. He dangles it in front of you like bait on a hook, hoping you'll take a bite, because he wants to defeat you! He wants to keep you sick, broke, sad, and perpetually trapped beneath your circumstances. And to do that, he must somehow stop you from living by faith.

James 3:16 says "where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." In other words, envy and strife give the devil an open door into your life. What kinds of "evil work" will the devil bring through that open door? Everything from depression to murder. Yes, murder! That was envy's first recorded act. It was responsible for the first human bloodshed.

We need to realize that envy is sin. It's the opposite of love. It is of the devil and if we let it stay in our lives, very soon we'll be yielding to the evil spirit that governs it. That's what Cain did, and as a result he "rose up against Abel his brother, and killed him."

From Genesis to Revelation, you can see envy doing its sinister work, trying to stop the plan of God. Clearly, envy is serious business. We need to rid ourselves of it completely and start loving each other.

In a very real sense, you are laying down your life when you refuse to envy because envy tries to get you to fight for your own rights. It pushes you to look out for your own welfare, and to be hostile because someone else is more successful in life than you are.

Ironically, however, what envy actually does is stop your success. It keeps you from rising to the level of those you are envying. It stops your faith. It takes you outside the realm of love and 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, "love never fails." Therefore, envy becomes a trap that secures your failure!

Learn To Shut The Door
The truth is, all strife works that way - whether it's caused by envy or by something else. All strife is sin! That means even when you are on the "right" side of an argument, if you're in strife, you're wrong. When you're offended and angry with your husband or wife, your children, or anyone else, you're wrong. You've opened the door to the devil and you'd better do something quickly.

What should you do? Shut the door! Stubbornly resist those fleshly pressures and temptations of the devil. Treat strife just like you'd treat a rattlesnake or any other deadly invader. Refuse to let it in!

It's time for us to wake up. It's time we quit allowing the devil to darken our homes, our businesses, our churches and our individual lives with strife and envy. It's time we quit letting him pull the plug on our faith power. It's time we started living in the light.

Learn to watch over yourself. Pay attention to your state of mind. When you find yourself depressed or downcast, don't just ignore those feelings. Think back. Ask yourself, "What started this downturn?" You may realize that a particular situation sparked feelings of aggravation, jealousy, or strife within you. If so, look at that situation through the eyes of God and then talk to it (see Mark 11:23).

Say, "That situation has no power over me. I refuse to allow it to bring envy and strife into my life. I yield to the forces of love and joy within me. And Lord, I praise You for Brother Smith's new car. I thank You that Sister Jones has those beautiful clothes!"

Then just start praising the Lord. Sing a song. Put on a CD that will lift you up, and force yourself to sing along. Before long, the love of God will be bubbling up out of your heart again and you'll be singing in genuine joy. I know you will because I've done it!

Excerpt permission granted by
Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka:  Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Gloria Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God's WORD to their lives.

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