Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
My wife, Claire, and I recently welcomed our first child into the world. Daniel is a smiling, happy little boy who seems to bring joy everywhere he goes.
Prior to his birth, Claire and I enrolled on an NCT course. We found the course very helpful, not least because we met a group of good people who have become friends.
A few weeks ago we found ourselves at a barbecue at one of our NCT friend’s houses. I have to say, I was rather envious of their home. Whilst we live in a small flat, they have a large, detached house with a substantial garden.
I’m sure I’m not alone in envying what other people have from time to time. I’m sure that at some point you will have found yourself envying your friend’s home, or their car, or their summer holiday.
If we are to live by Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbours as ourselves, however, we should aim to steer clear of envy. In chapter thirteen of his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that love does not envy. If we find ourselves envying others, then, we are lacking in love for them.
Envy is like jealousy. It suggests that we are not happy with our own lives and the blessings that we have received from our heavenly father. It indicates a wrong attitude, suggesting that we are focused on acquiring ‘stuff’.
Rather than envying others, we should be glad for what we have, be grateful to God for his provision, and pleased for the success of others. We should give thanks that ultimately our treasure is heaven, secured for us by Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection three days later.
I pray today that our attitude towards all those we encounter will be one of love, and that any envy we feel towards others will be eradicated by the Holy Spirit.
As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.
Listen to this reflection/download Podcast: