If someone asked me, “Are you envious?”, I would quickly respond with a resounding, “No”. I mean, why would I be envious of someone else? But I would challenge each of us to look within and honestly examine your heart.
The word envy has to do with being jealous of one another. Envy also denotes having ill-will toward another person. We can become envious of each other when we compare ourselves. II Corinthians 10:12 indicates that it is not wise to compare ourselves to one another. Why then is it a very common way that many choose to approach life? Without even realizing it, many choose to determine who they are through comparison.
Comparison is an unhealthy way that many decide if they are “good enough”, “better than someone else”, “successful”, etc. In turn when they don’t measure up, they can become envious of the other person. Comparison is the natural side of trying to define ourselves. There is nothing supernatural about it. Comparison is a vicious cycle: compare, become envious, put oneself down, compare again and become envious again.
So, to break this vicious cycle, we must first stop comparing ourselves with others and defining ourselves by that comparison. In turn, we must start finding our identity in the Word of God. Rather than deciding how well we are doing based on where we stand – or how we compare - with others, we must determine who we truly are with the truths that only God has given us.
For example, if I am envious of my friend for having a success or receiving a gift, I am forgetting what the Word says:
Philippians 1:6 in the Amplified Bible says, “And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”
My success is not determined by how well I stack up with another’s success. God is the One Who brings success in my life!
When I am envious of someone receiving something that I had wished or prayed for, I am not only sinning, but I am forgetting that God is the One Who supplies my needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19). Someone else’s blessing does not determine mine. God is the Provider!
Envy is also NOT a characteristic of God’s love and kindness.
Titus 3:3-5 indicates, “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—"When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy" (NLT).
The difference lies in our choice to let God reveal His love through us. As we allow that love to be our guide, we choose not to envy.
It. Is. A. Choice.
Each of us has the ability to decide whether we will envy or whether we will love. Love is never envious (I Corinthians 13: 4. AMP).
When we choose to walk in love rather than envy we also bring health to our lives. Proverbs 14:30 states, “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones (AMP)”. None of us would purposefully choose to eat or drink something that would cause our bones to rot. Why then do we find it so easy to be envious? Envy is like rottenness to our bones!
The good news is we have the choice of whether or not we will envy, & we have a Helper to help us walk this out. The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He will help us learn how to renew our mind and take our thoughts captive so that we do not dwell on envious attitudes. We can successfully walk in love!
So, how do I overcome envy?
Let each of us begin to look within and examine if we are envious in any situation.
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- Gregurich Ministries
At some point in life we all have to get real with ourselves and answer this question:
Who are you?
The world we live in trains us to answer that by saying, “Teacher, musician, athlete, boyfriend, girlfriend, waiter, or salesman.”
While all these titles may be something we do, I would argue that the titles have nothing to do with who we are.
The next two questions I believe are some of the most important questions in life:
Where do you find your identity?
Who would you be if what you DO was taken away from you?”
Identity is something I have strong convictions on. I believe that once you get your identity established you then can be and do everything God has called you to do.
For so many years of my life I would have told you I was a basketball player. Since the day I was born I had some type of sports ball in my hand. I have old VHS tapes and pictures of me throwing a tennis ball, shooting a basketball, swinging a bat, and participating in every other sport you can think of. I was an ATHLETE. Baseball and Basketball were what I stuck with. I lived and breathed sports, especially baseball and basketball. That is all I thought about all day. As I got older, I started to compare myself with other players. I remember being jealous of kids on other teams that were better than me. Everything I did was to be the best. Mentally, without realizing it, I had begun to find my value and worth based on how baseball and basketball were going for me. When we won, and I played good, life was good. And when we lost, and I played bad, you could expect to find me in my driveway shooting until the streetlight shut off, hitting off a tee, or pitching into my backyard fence.
Everything I thought and did was to be the best in my sport.
When I was 16 years old I got to a place in my life where I was so upset with who I
was. My baseball career just ended. My basketball career was looking like I wouldn’t end up playing at the high level I wanted to. I had come to a crossroad. You see, my whole life I had used my athletic performance and praise of others to determine my value and worth. I finally hit a point where I was so depressed I didn’t want to live anymore.
When we hit a crossroad, we have to know our source of identity.
When your source of identity is your job, your sport, your significant other, or anything other than Christ — there will come a point where you won’t be fulfilled completely. Like me, you will find yourself at a place where you are questioning life. Questioning why and questioning who you are.
God never intended for us to struggle with who we are. He tells us directly who we are multiple times in His Word.
“Beloved, right now we are children of God.” 1 John 3:22
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Romans 8:16
Our identity comes from the fact that we are God’s children. Any other claim of identity is merely a lie and can lead to destruction in your life because it can never fulfill you.
It is from the place of being completely established and fulfilled in our identity in Christ that we can start to do great things.
You can’t find your joy and fulfillment based on a relationship or even how your partner treats you or makes you feel. If I am only doing good depending on how they talk to me today, I will always be searching for affirmation and never be secure. I have done it in my life. It is a slippery slope that never ends well. It will leave you in a place of codependency. That isn’t healthy, and that is never what God wanted.
Until you are completely convinced you are fulfilled in Christ, you will look to circumstances and people to tell you that you’re good enough.
“It is through him that we live and function and have our identity; just as your own poets have said, ‘Our lineage comes from him’.” Acts 17:28
Your identity comes from Christ. Notice it says that it is through that source of identity that we live and function. You will not be able to fully live and function the way you should in life if you don’t have faith in that God given identity. Your worth as a person is set. You are no more valuable or less valuable because of what you do!
Today, we look to our jobs, our spouses, our talents, our athletic ability and other things to make us feel right, good or complete within ourselves. We look everywhere other than where we should— to our Heavenly Father!
A dear friend of mine at PGC basketball teaches about the “Ray Allen Mentality”. When Ray Allen played, his demeanor and emotional expression was almost always stoic and calm. Ray never rose too high or too low. Ray is arguably one of the greatest shooters of all time. Ray was consistent because he knew who he was. He was a great shooter. He did all the things that great shooters do. When things were going well he was secure, when things weren’t going well he was secure. Ray never changed. That same attitude is something Ray unknowingly took from Jesus.
Jesus knew who He was. No matter what was happening, whether He was being persecuted or being praised, He NEVER changed who He was to fit those around Him.
Look at the Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They knew that they were God’s children. And when their circumstances and situations were telling them to compromise that identity, they faced it head-on. They didn’t worry about the fire. The fire or “circumstance” wasn’t who they were. And because of that, on their worst day, in the hottest fire, they recognized Jesus there with them. They left that fire unharmed with no evidence of even being in a fire. Why? Because the fire and circumstance are not who they were, and your circumstances are not who you are.
The key to overcome is to know who you are!
It’s time to have our identity completely established in Christ. You are not a worship pastor, a minister, a student, a girlfriend, a husband, a hairstylist, a basketball player, a coach, or even a mom or dad. While those are all important things that we do, our ultimate source of identity is in being God’s children. That can NEVER be taken away.
“Beloved, right now we are children of God.” 1 John 3:2
Until you are completely convinced you are fulfilled in Christ, you will look to circumstances and people to tell you that you’re good enough .
It is from the place of being completely established and fulfilled in our identity in Christ that we can start to do great things. Being secure in who God has made you to be is the starting place for greatness. It’s not something that’s hard to obtain, you don’t have to go to counselors for years. You can be Who God has made you to be right now. All it takes is a simple change in your mind.
Believe in who He has made you to be today.
If these thoughts helped you in any way please share them with your family & friends. If you have any questions reach out to me on facebook (Tanner Gregurich) or Instagram (@tannerwgregurich).