One of the strongest drivers of human behaviour is envy or jealousy – the green-eyed monster (apparently the expression originates with Shakespeare). Wanting to have a better car, kitchen, phone, career, relationship, body, education, family, hairstyle, etc, etc – the list is endless. Of course wanting these things is not necessarily wrong. It’s what drives the desire that’s the problem. If it’s to be bigger and better than others that’s driving it, then of course ultimately it’s self-directed and wrong. Envy is a dangerous thing. It’s a pernicious form of self-promotion – evidence that our self-interest has been frustrated.
Jesus tells us not to worry about getting ahead of the rest (Matthew 6:25-33). God knows what we need, and doesn’t hold back in providing it (Check out he birds or the flowers, he says). What He wants us to have at the top of our priority list is to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness. In other words his loving rule over our lives and the lives of others, and to seek to reflect his goodness and purity in our lives – to be like Him. This frees us up to be like Him in other ways. To really seek the good of those around us. With envy on the back burner (or switched off altogether!), love and generosity can flourish and grow on the front burner. This is God’s great plan for his people. Let’s not get sidetracked on lesser things.