I was talking to some young ministers recently who have become popular on the national landscape. They shared that they sense jealousy and criticism from their peers in response to what they say. I’ve noticed something kind of interesting. When we are being critical in ministry, or pick on other people, it’s often not because of something they said —it’s because of envy.
There are a few key elements to envy:
- Envy is desiring something someone else has. In Mark 15:20, Pilot noted that it was for envy that the Jewish leaders brought Jesus forward for trial. This was very discerning of Pilot. You see, envy is an emotion you need to understand. If someone is doing something that you thought you could do but didn’t do, then you experience jealousy or envy. I’m never jealous of a prizefighter who knocks somebody out. I’m never jealous of a rock star who has a big following. You know why? I’m not a boxer and I’m not a singer. No matter the career field you are in, if you see someone attaining favor and results that you intuitively know you could have had also—but you didn’t take the steps to get there—that’s envy! It’s essential to learn to celebrate the victories of others if we are to proceed with the right heart and walk in a place of favor.
- Be on guard when envy creeps in. Start to watch where that comes from. The enemy wants to keep you focused on what you don’t have—on who you aren’t—instead of on who God made you to be and how far you've come.
- Don’t try to be someone else. Comparison is the death of authenticity. Be fully who you are. Recognize that God will never hold back anything from you that is in the field of possibility. Heaven plays no favorites. Your task is to fully develop your own capacity. When you are jealous or envious of others, it’s because someone else is attaining results of which you are also capable. Observe and figure out what steps they are taking that you haven’t yet.
Note: If YOU are the target of envy and jealousy, take it as the backhanded compliment that it is.
Question: Who are you critical of? Is jealousy the root of this criticism? Who are you comparing yourself with? Do you need to “let it go”? Can you bear to hear others celebrated in your presence? Release all unhealthy comparisons. Discover your unique task. Work your own field! Let the Lord speak to you about who you are and who you are meant to be. Comment below!