In 1 Corinthians 13:4, we are told that love does not envy. In other words, envy will rob you of your capacity to express love towards another person. You cannot love another person when you are envious of them. Where envy exists, love does not.
Envy is to be unsatisfied with what I have. Envy covets the life and possessions of others. I might envy their money, success, good fortune, reputation, influence, good looks, athletic skill, friends, time, health, wit, lifestyle, children, or education. The list is endless as to what I might covet.
Envy also leads us to not want the life that we have. It is to despise the calling God has placed upon our individual lives. Envy fails to appreciate and celebrate what we have been given because it draws our focus on what we do not have.
God has made us each unique. If we were all the same, life would be boring. There are different parts of the body with different functions. The ways I am gifted are not necessarily the ways that you are gifted. God creates us each differently to complement one another. Where I am weak you may be strong and where I am strong you may be weak.
Opposite envy is the virtue of contentment. If envy is to be unsatisfied with the life I have, then contentment is to be satisfied. Contentment rejoices and celebrates in the good fortune of others. When you are envious of someone you may actually wish misfortune upon them. You despise their success. But contentment puts us in a place where we can rejoice with others.
Contentment is also tied with gratitude. A person who is content focuses on what they have rather than what they don’t have. A person who is content can find reason to be grateful even in times of scarcity. Contentment is not about how much we have or don’t have. Contentment is a condition of the heart.
The last thing to think about when it comes to envy is to be careful what you wish for. You may look at another person and desire to have the life that they have. But the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. It might have taken great sacrifice for that other person to get to where they are at. They may shoulder a great burden of responsibility because of where they are at. Their experiences in life has brought them too a place where they are now able to shoulder that responsibility. You may not have the same experiences as they have and therefore are not able to shoulder the same responsibilities. It is a thing of grace that you don’t have what they have.
I liken in this to my twin boys who will sometimes try to wear daddy’s shoes. My feet are much bigger than theirs. Their feet do not fit in my shoes. That does not keep them from attempting to wear my shoes. But it does not work out. The shoes either fall off or the boys trip and fall. It works so much better for the boys to walk in their own shoes.
The point here is that God has created you in such a way that you have a right place and a right way to fit. He didn’t create you to be somebody you are not. He created you to be you. God knows what is doing. You are more special than you realize. Embrace who God made you to be and the calling he placed upon your life.