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How to Overcome Envy: Learn to Be Still

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What do you want in life?  A happy marriage, well-behaved kids, financial comfort…  It’s easy to get sucked into the envy game when we get a window into the highlight real of life.  It’s hard to not envy other people.  How do you fight envy?  No, I don’t want to keep fighting envy.  I want to learn how to overcome envy!  Today we will see that learning to be still will help us with God’s command, “Do not envy.”

Did you find this mid-series?  Go back here and read the intro and keep up with the series.

How to Overcome Envy: Beginning With Questions

Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:7 AMP)

Envy is one of those sins that comes up unexpectedly.  Right?  No one goes out looking for ways to envy other people!  No one wakes up and says, “I am envious, how can I show envy and jealousy today?”

I wish I could sum today up in a nice neat bow for you.  The truth is when we keep our eyes on God and the path He has for us we can learn how to overcome envy.  But how do you keep your eyes on God all the time?   It’s much more complicated than it sounds.

The truth is when we keep our eyes on God and the path He has for us we can learn how to overcome envy. Click To Tweet

What Causes Envy

The context of Psalm 37:7 shows David as the author.  The fact that David circles back to the theme of “Be Still” makes me feel better that I need to be reminded often to be still.  How about you?

David says, “Do not fret” or “Do not envy” the person prospering in sin.

What does envy mean? We got a good look at this in our word study on 1 Corinthians 13:4.

Read it in depth here ~> Fighting to Be Sure Love Is Not Jealous

Does envy mean jealous? Yes and no.

Jealous includes envy, but envy is not entirely jealousy.

Envy happens when you have something I want (Jealousy sort of).  But Jealousy goes deeper than just being envious of what others have.  Jealousy adds covet to envy.

You have something I want and I wish I had that thing instead of you.

Jealousy is one of the characteristics of an envious person.  Often, when envy is allowed to take root, a person will spend time thinking about life through the lens of jealousy.

Is envy sin?  Yes because when left unchecked it leads to sinful attitudes, words, and actions.

When God issues the command, “Do not envy” He was trying to save His children from the harm this sin leads us into.

Related:  Battling the Unbelief of Envy

What Causes Jealousy and Envy?

Observations from Psalm 37:7 show us that David had much opportunity to envy others.  He spent so many years waiting on God to fulfill a promise.

David had been anointed, told he would be king, only to spend years on the run for his life.

How many times must he have asked: “Why?”

  • Why am I hiding in a cave for fear of my life?
  • Did I really hear you right that I would be king?
  • This seems like a crazy path to becoming king.  Are you sure that’s what you are up to God?
It's okay to question God, to ask God questions and wrestle through your doubt. God is big enough to handle our questions, answer them and help our heart heal! Click To Tweet

It is okay to question God

It’s okay to question God, to ask God questions and wrestle through your doubt. God is big enough to handle our questions, answer them and help our heart heal!

David often begins writing with questions for God, accusations at God and general depression.  I can’t blame him because when life is hard those are very real places get stuck.

What I love about David is that he never stays there.  David brings his big problems to God and is then reminded God is bigger than those problems.

How to Stop Being Jealous of Others Success

What is the problem you are facing in life today? 

Has life not gone the way you expected?

Are you not as far along as you planned?  Are others doing better financially or in relationships?

David is struggling here because of people prospering who are evil.

Can you relate to the tendency toward jealousy?

I understand the idea that those who don’t follow God’s ways seem to get farther financially and enjoy life more than.

Part of my testimony shows how I turned away from God for a season for just this reason.

But we see in Davids example a truth you need to hold onto.  We should not envy ungodly people because they have no eternal future. So life is hard today, you have eternity with God ahead. They deserve our pity, prayer, and witness – not envy.

Letting Go of Envy in 7 Steps

Do not envy other people. Be still and commit your way to the Lord!

David gives us a clear application of Psalm 37:7.  It is a lesson in how to overcome envy like no else!

How do we actually live a life free from envy?  David tells us in Psalm 37: 3-6

  1. Trust the Lord
    • Rely on Him.
    • Have confidence in Him.
  2. Do good
    • Even if others are cheating and lying to get ahead.
  3. Delight in the Lord
    • Love Him.
    • Spend time with Him.
    • Seek Him more than anything else.
  4. Give Him the freedom to change your desires.
    • Let God replace anything that He does not desire.
  5. Commit your way to the Lord.
    • Decide that you are going to do life God’s Way no matter how others are living.
  6. Trust the Lord to do what He promises
    • Guide you
    • Protect you
    • Provide for you and so much more
  7. Be Still,
    • Wait patiently because His timing is not our timing.
    • Entrust yourself to God because He has a plan and a way that is best.
    • Do not whine or complain in the waiting because you are looking at others on different paths.

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How Do I Stop Being Jealous of Others’ Success?

Psalm 37:7 shows us how to stop being jealous of other’s success.  How to overcome envy and jealousy in a 7 step plan!

I love the plan!  Give me a seven-step plan to be still and do not envy other people and I am set.

LOL, but that is easier said than done!  Right?!?!?!?!

Notice that not one time did David say, “Look around at what others are doing and try to live like them.”

God didn’t tell us to mimic the preacher (even if he’s a great guy).  He didn’t say live like the saints, even though they died martyrs.  He says to trust the Lord, live like the Lord says to live.

That’s it.  How to overcome envy the Bible way.  Trust God.  Keep your eyes on God and off of other people

That's it. How to overcome envy the Bible way. Trust God. Keep your eyes on God and off of other people Click To Tweet

Keep Your Eyes on the Lord, Not on Other People

I get this wrong more days than not.  My friends have nice clothes, seemingly perfect marriages, well-behaved kids, and on and on I could go.

When I look at them and wonder if I’m on the right path.

God said to stay at home and raise my kids. I wonder if I heard Him right because one income does not stretch far enough.

God said live with grace, submission, and gentleness in my marriage but some days I wish I could just rail about the unfairness of it all.

How do you fight envy?

Ask the hard questions:

Stop trying to take God’s job:

Remember that earlier in this series we talked about the temptation to take over God’s job?

If I were God I would increase the income over here, change a heart over there, heal a sickness back yonder.

But I am not God and when I look around – instead of looking up – envy steals my peace, stirs up anxiety and squashes my stillness.

Learning how to find peace in the midst of chaos is about knowing that God is God and I am not!

A Prayer to Overcome Envy

Precious Lord Jesus,

Oh, how I long to delight in You instead of longing for comfort.  I want to want to commit my way to You but then the control freak inside rears her ugly head and I fall short.  Forgive me of the envy that lives deep inside.  I don’t like to admit it is there, but it really is.

Teach me how to really desire the things You desire.  Replace this white picket fence dream of comfort and prosperity for a Kingdom-focused dream and desire of life.

I give you this fear, that I am not on the right path because the path is hard.  Here is the worry that You will not step in to provide and protect in time.  I surrender the anxiety of not understanding Your way, Your time and Your end purpose.

Help me Be Stil and live Your Way one step at a time.  Teach my mouth to stop whining and complaining about waiting.  Remind me that others have struggled as well, even if I can’t see them.  Convict my heart to pray rather than envy other people, Father.

Amen

Which Step in How to Overcome Envy and Be Still Will You Take Today?

Some days I feel like the problem is outside of me.  I wonder how to stop being jealous and controlling and how to stop being competitive.

Other days I am asking how do you deal with an envious person?  Learning how to deal with envy from others still falls into that category of outside my control.

Even wondering which is worse, envy or jealous leaves me in the wrong place.

What is in my control?  The direction I fix my eyes.

What is in your control?  The direction you fix your eyes.  What are you looking at today?  Are you focused on others or are you looking at Jesus?  Are you trying to take over God’s job in your life?

Look over the list and see which step you are stuck on today.

  1. Trust the Lord
  2. Do good
  3. Delight in the Lord
  4. Give Him the freedom to change your desires.
  5. Commit your way to the Lord.
  6. Trust the Lord to do what He promises
  7. Be Still,

If you are trusting God, are you doing good?  If you are doing good, are you delighting in the Lord?  Take the next right step today and you will have learned how to overcome envy!

God says, “Do not envy. Be still.”  This is how you do it!

in HIM,

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Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children.  Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.

14 thoughts to “How to Overcome Envy: Learn to Be Still”

  1. Woke up this morning with a funny feeling. I kept thinking about my career and where I should be at my current age and felt like I wasn’t doing enough.. I said a prayer and read James 1:12 which was God’s way of telling me to be patient and now seeing your post just made me feel 1000% convinced that God indeed has good plans for me. So, thank you for this!

  2. I truly feel that if we’re doing our best to better ourselves on a daily basis, we’ll have no time to worry (or envy) about what other people are doing. It’s so important to remember!

  3. Love this!! I’m in a women’s Bible study that just completed 1 & 2 Samuel and learned so much more about King David. It really thought me to look to God first and not a man because we all fall short.

  4. it’s so hard not to envy but loved this post so much. it’s so needed right now with the way social media is a comparison game!

  5. It’s a really good post. It is really hard not to envy other people especially when they portray that they have it all. But you really don’t know what is behind closed doors. Need to appreciate everything we do have.

  6. I think the most challenging and important thing is for me to BE STILL upon realizing envy or any sin. To stop and yield to the Holy Spirit is something I’m sure I’ll be working toward with His help all the days of my life. Thank you for the reminder!!!

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