Today we continue our look at 1 Corinthians 13 to understand more clearly what love is. This post is a bit more weighty than usual, but it is important in marriage to look deeper into the soil of our hearts to see what nutrients, or lack of, are there. Our hope and prayer is that as you look you’ll be motivated to cultivate true love as Biblically defined, not culturally. This is the only love that matters, and it’s the only love that will last.
We have found Noah Webster’s Dictionary from 1828 to be the most accurate in defining Biblical terms. Why? Because Noah was the first American to take the time to define the words used at this time in American history. His source for the word’s definition? He used scripture to determine accurately what each English word meant. In case you have never studied his story…it is quite inspiring! But that’s not what our post is about today.
The word is envy!
Envy – Pain, uneasiness, mortification or discontent excited by the sight of another’s superiority or success, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often or usually with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed. Envy springs from pride, ambition or love, mortified that another has obtained what one has a strong desire to possess.
Given the definition, I don’t think many of us would confess publicly to envying our spouse, yet we do. I (Debi) can think of a specific time in our marriage when I didn’t like the fact that Tom was able to leave for work – alone in his car – while I was left at home with three children age 4 and under, to care for and train minute by minute! I was full of envy, wishing I could have the freedom to go and do without the demands motherhood required. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it was true. These thoughts left unchallenged and repented from produced strife and all kinds of discord in our home.
Pretending envious thoughts aren’t present in my heart accomplishes nothing good!
If I don’t see envy as sin, I have no hope! Seeing it for what it is allows me to repent to my Savior – the only place I’ll find forgiveness and hope to move on free from its grip!
As my children have grown I don’t feel the pull of envy as strongly as I used to, yet I am always aware of the temptation to compare myself with others – be it my husband or friends who have more or do more than I am able to at this time in my life.
Love does not envy [period].
It’s that simple! If I am allowing myself to think envious thoughts, I am NOT loving my husband/wife. See it. Admit it. Confess it. Repent of it. And be free from it! We don’t have to live this way. Christ has set us free from the bonds of slavery to sin; this includes envy. What glorious news!
“He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!”
**IT”S YOUR TURN – Have you found yourself fighting temptations to be envious of your spouse? How has God helped you fight this temptation?
This kind of envy has left me discontented with life and circumstances rather than letting me see the beauty that is right in front of me. I am quick to accuse and blame rather than to repent and ask for forgiveness and I leave in the wake of my fit a family who would rather hide from me than to fellowship with me. My later state is far worse than my former. The very thing I desire has flown from me.
But the story does not have to end there. There is hope and forgiveness as I seek daily to walk with a loving, kind spirit asking for forgiveness when I walk in disappointment it is amazing what God has done with that. I am so amazed at His love for me especially when disappointments come.
God’s grace is greater than ALL our sin! This is amazing – thanks for sharing, Kelley!
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Envy is so insidious. Being aware is key. I love the statement: “Love does not envy. Period.” Great post, Debi!
Thanks, Lori! I find I am envious more than I realized. This is why it is so good to study words like this. Have a great weekend!
I was listening to a podcast from Andy Stanley on the 5 issues of the heart (not the right name – can’t remember right now). His 5th was jealousy. (a close kin of envy, I believe). I’ve never considered myself a jealous person, but his words hit me strongly… And then I read your post… Oh my. You know when the Lord is trying to get your attention. (sigh)