Escaping the Envy Trap

Michael Beck

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:25,26)

Certain people relish making others envious of them. Their desire for vain glory causes them to flaunt their accomplishments, their connections, their superiority. To be around such people sets us up to be provoked. If we are not careful in such a situation we can fall into the snare of envy. Envy involves seeing other people have what we wished we had. We can be insecure enough as it is with “where we are” without having another highlight the difference between their seeming success and our seeming failure.

The first thing we can be taught in such a circumstance is what not to be like. If we would follow the golden rule and do unto others as we would have them do unto us we would not walk in a lifted up spirit. Only by pride comes contention. A walk in the Holy Spirit causes us to do nothing through strife or vain glory. Instead of putting ourselves forward as superior to others, we will esteem others better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Secondly, a walk in the Spirit enables us to overcome the temptation to envy others. If what they have they have by the grace of God we will be led to rejoice in His blessing upon their lives, even if they are walking in a measure of strife (Philippians 1:18). In whatever we are shown that they still lack we will be led to pray for them, not condemn them or wish them harm.

And then most of all, we will be led to take our eyes off of what they or anyone else thinks of us and make it the renewed business of our life to pursue and gain all that the Lord has for us. Only in this way can our own work be proven. Then it is that we will have rejoicing in ourselves alone, and whatever another has done or not done will be between them and their Lord. (Galatians 6:4)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.