Read: Psalm 73

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (v. 25)

Shakespeare famously described jealousy as “the green-eyed monster.” The sin of envy warps our ability to see clearly, blinding us to the blessings with which God has filled our lives.

Envy is not merely wanting what our neighbor has; it’s anger at his having what we don’t. Envy is equal parts covetousness and resentment. Envy tricks us into thinking that our feelings are just—that the person whom we envy doesn’t deserve to be wealthy, or powerful, or popular, and that we do. If the object of our envy falls from grace, we feel justified in the joy we take from it. Think of the secret pleasure we feel when a tabloid headline broadcasts the disgrace of a Hollywood star. “Ha!” we say to ourselves. “Serves them right!”

Like the psalmist, we must realize that envy blinds us to two profound truths. First, that the lives of the rich and powerful are precarious. The very things that we envy others for are fleeting; those who put their trust in earthly things should be pitied, not envied. Second, envy keeps us from seeing God’s unwavering provision in our lives. If we do not acknowledge and repent of our envy, we will be incapable of gratitude.

God is the only thing large enough, strong enough, and permanent enough to fulfill the desires of our hearts. To be able, like the psalmist, to say, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” is the sure antidote to envy. —Jane Olson

As you pray, ask God to teach you to desire him above all else.

About the Author

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and children.