4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Christ was turned over to his executioners out of envy. Roman governor Pontius Pilate knew this.
Matthew 27:17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers for envy, as the martyr, Stephen, explained to the Jewish council, the religious elite, before they stoned him to death.
Acts 7:9 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
Several times the Jews were moved with envy against Paul’s teaching.
Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
Acts 17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
Envy is listed as one of the sins of mankind that God released mankind to as a result of mankind’s persistence in idolatry, worshipping and acknowledging anything but God even while having reasonable evidence of God’s existence and sovereignty. I won’t quote the entire passage from Romans 1:16 to 2:1 here but you can read it. Here is the verse it’s listed in. Notice the company envy keeps.
Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
But what exactly is envy? First, it is linked to strife.
Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
It is malicious and hateful.
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
It is a consequence of loving the world system rather than God and the basis for war.
James 4: 1 ¶ From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
Envy is your resentment at the fact that another possesses something you don’t have. Older women will resent a young woman’s youth and beauty. Men will resent another’s success. Both men and women will resent someone for the material possessions or the spouse or money that others have. Sometimes its envy over status, or wisdom, or the approval of other people, a job or position that you lusted after but were denied. You’ll find ways to criticize, undermine, or hurt the person but you’ll never admit your envy. You’ll accuse them of not being submitted to Christ, of being worldly, of being wicked even, but you won’t admit the simple fact that you hate them for having something you lust after but can’t have and they do.
Envy is wickedness and next to pride is the Christian’s greatest downfall and they go together like a hand in glove. You see, Satan, was envious of God Himself.
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
You envy because you have never cast off the values of the world system. In America we are taught to covet, to lust after, and to envy from the moment we turn on the television the first time. Advertising is a practice designed to create envy, lust, and coveting. Television and radio and the internet could not exist without it. We are bombarded night and day by images and words designed to make us envy and lust and covet. In my youth, the suburban lifestyle was jokingly called “keeping up with the Joneses”.
The world system teaches values that God hates.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
These are the very things that Satan tempted Eve with in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to line up “good for food” with “lust of the flesh”, or “pleasant to the eyes” with “lust of the eyes”, or “make one wise” with “pride of life”. And when you cannot have the things you lust after, the things you covet, then you begin to look upon the one who does have them with envy. Adam and Eve saw these things as more important than the relationship with God that they had.
Cain, the founder of the first man made religion, killed Abel for envy. Just read Genesis 4:3-8. Envy is the foundation upon which war stands, as the verses in James show. Admit it to yourself and to Christ, much of the reason you don’t like a particular person is that you’re jealous, envious of something they have that you don’t; whether it be looks, youth, money, strength, spouse, possessions, children, position, or status.
Do you envy someone else in the church? Do you envy the Pastor? Examine yourself. Your envy is not pleasing to God. Your envy is wickedness. The Holy Spirit has told us what our attitude as Christians is to be toward what we possess.
1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
The proverb says that it is more dangerous than wrath or anger. Be warned.
2Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?