Bible Studies

5 Scriptures to Combat Envy and Covetousness

My daughter said something interesting to me a few years ago.  She wondered since one of my cousins and one of my good friends opened stores, why I didn’t open one as well.

I said, “Charis, that’s God’s will for their lives.  It isn’t His will, nor my desire, for mine.”

The conversation made me think about people who are discontent because they envy or covet either what other people have (a store, a business, a ministry, a job, house, car, even a marriage) or what other people are doing.

I know how it feels to watch others around you find success and you’re just sitting there twiddling your thumbs.  I know the thoughts you may have:  “Lord, when will it be my turn?”  “Why can’t my business/ministry/etc be as successful as theirs?”

Although I know how you feel, I must caution you against doing something just because other people are doing it.  I’ve watched people go into debt buying houses and cars because their family or friends or even their enemies bought a house or a car.  I’ve watched people start businesses because someone else started a business and they wanted similar success.

Listen, if God hasn’t called you to start a particular venture, while you may enjoy success for awhile, you will soon become discouraged and burned out.  Why?  Because you’re not doing what you’ve been called to do.

And that’s what I explained to my daughter.

I’m excited for my cousin, Helen, and my friend, Shirley, and I support their stores.  They both desired to start businesses, prayed to the Lord, and followed His leading.  I, on the other hand, do not have a desire to start a brick and mortar business.  My heart’s desire is to be an author of Christ-centered books (non-fiction and fiction).

It’s best to know what you’re called to do and then do it to the glory of God.  Don’t worry about what others are doing or how God is blessing them.

How can you overcome the temptation to covet what others have or are doing?  Let’s go to the Word of God:

Be content with what you have.

(Philippians 4:11, “not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”)

Ask the Lord to show you a secret love of money you may be harboring in your heart.

(1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted water, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”)

Seek God and His kingdom before anything else.

(Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”)

Find your joy and delight in the Lord.  Let Him satisfy you.

(Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”)

Stay focused on eternal things, not temporal things that don’t last.

(Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”)

Heeding the five suggestions I’ve included here will help you combat envy or covetousness.  I encourage you to be content with what you have.  Pray.  Ask the Lord to show you His plans and purpose for your life.  God has something special for you too.

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