Love does not Envy
Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
“Love…does not envy.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:11-13
Sometimes love has nothing to do with the object of love and everything to do with one’s self. Love means that you are content and satisfied with the grace that God has given you. In other words, you do not envy another. You do not begrudge others for having more than you. A good question to ask is, “How do you respond to the good fortune of others?” Do you rejoice that they have been blessed or are you envious of their lot in life? If they achieve something you have always wanted, do you feel happy for them or are you saddled with bitterness?
Love means that you are truly happy at the success of others – even if it means that you did not get what you wanted. For instance, you can quickly discern if two quarterbacks are great friends if the backup is sincerely happy for the success of the starting quarterback. A woman will be happy when her best friend finds the perfect guy and gets married first. A man is exceedingly glad when his best buddy’s son gets the starting position while his son has to be on the bench. He may not be happy that his son is on the bench, but he is happy for his friend.
Envy and jealousy happen when you compare. It is always dangerous to compare. It is not sinful to compare, but only when comparing turns to anger, bitterness, and jealousy. You never – ever – want to compare your marriage to another person’s marriage. First, God has called you to be content in all things. God has brought you two together and set you apart for His purposes. If your marriage needs improvement, you do not sulk and imagine what it would be like to be married to someone else. Rather you work on your marriage and it will get better. Secondly, the grass is typically not as green on the other side as it appears. You may have friends that seem to have it all together. But you never know what is going on behind closed doors. It is not only dangerous to compare, but it is also unproductive and can lead to unnecessary bitterness. Godly love does not envy.
Questions for Thought:
- What are one or two areas that you struggle with comparing yourself with others? (ie. Finances, employment, talents, appearance, material things, family)
- What are the benefits of true contentment? What is the relationship between contentment and love?
God’s Mission, Your Mission
You simply cannot love someone if you are jealous of them. It affects both your relationship with God and your relationship with the person. First, if you are envious, you are telling God that you are quite dissatisfied with what He has given you. You are saying that God has made a mistake and has been unkind to you. Remember that right now God has given you all that you need in life (2 Peter 1:3). That is His promise. But He decides what you need to fulfill your mission for Him. So be thankful for your provisions and use them to the fullest.
Second, you cannot adequately love someone if you are jealous. The older brother in the parable of the prodigal son struggled to love his brother because he was jealous of the way his father was lavishing praise on his son. Similarly, Joseph’s brothers were covered with envy and rage. It led them to do awful things to Joseph. God wants you to love others like you want to be loved. So rejoice when they prosper and help when they struggle.