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Difference Between Jealously and Envy

For the past few weeks, I have been thinking about jealousy and envy and as I studied this subject I knew I needed to get a complete picture so I decided to look up the different words to see if there was a difference between envy and jealousy.  As I studied I asked myself the question, why are we so jealous and envious of others?  As I pondered this question I had to search myself.  The Bible says jealousy and envy is a spirit and because of our fallen nature, we are subject to it. Satan fell when he became lifted up in pride; he became envious and jealous of God.  He wanted what belonged to God.  Now, before I delve deeper into this subject we must first define what is jealousy?  And what is envy?

There are several different definitions for the word jealously but the definition I will focus on is: “that unpleasant emotion you feel when you think someone is trying to take what belongs to you.”  Whenever there is jealousy it requires three parties; such as you, your co-worker and your boss. You may feel envious of the co-worker because she/he may have qualities you admire and think you do not have.  When you see your co-worker developing a closer relationship to the boss you begin to feel jealous because you think this co-worker is trying to make nice with the boss to gain favor and you become afraid/angry because maybe they are threatening your relationship with the boss.  These feelings are usually borne out of insecurity which in turn produces fear.  Fear is of the devil, fear brings torment. 

Whenever feelings of jealously arise we should deal with it immediately and rebuke it.  We must understand that God has given us power through his Spirit, Acts 1:8. We need to search ourselves to discover why these feelings of jealously are there. The spirit of jealousy can become a stronghold if it is not dwelt with; it can cause a person to become obsessed with how they compare to others.  The person who is jealous can become vengeful or apprehensive out of fear.  The Bible says jealousy is as cruel as the grave.  It will hold you and grip you so tight you may think there is no escape, but there is.  Ephesians 2:19-21, says that we are no longer foreigners and strangers but God now dwells in us through his Spirit. This should give us hope. We can be delivered if we turn to God. We must admit we have allowed this spirit to gain access to our spirit.  We pray to God for deliverance and learn what the word of God says.  The scripture says in II Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  Praise God for his faithfulness.

Is jealousy always evil?  When we look in the Bible we see that God is a jealous God. This means that he wants to be in an exclusive relationship with us.  He will not share us.  Israel the nation whom God had chosen provoked him to jealously often and because of their refusal to exclusively honor him as God he became angry and they suffered the consequences. When God is jealous it is not evil because he is love, righteous and holy.  On the other hand, we were born in sin and our nature is against God, therefore when we become jealous it is not good.  However when we become born again II Corinthians 5:17 says we become new creatures in Christ and the spirit of the living God dwells within us.

We can see what it means to be jealous, now what is envy?

Envy means "to bear a grudge toward someone due to coveting what that person has or enjoys." In a milder sense, it means "the longing for something someone else has without any ill will intended toward that person."  Envy requires the presence of two people, you and the person who has something you desire. That can be something physical the person possesses like a house, car, clothes, wife, husband, etc.  Or it can be desiring the gifts and talents that the person has. The person can be a gifted speaker, a talented musician, writer; or the person can possess much wisdom, knowledge, and faith, etc.  

So the question is if I long for something someone else has and I have no feelings of wanting to cause the person harm is that wrong? If someone has a gift of prophecy or healing or they are a great teacher or they are artistic, or the person has a good job, nice car, nice house, etc. and I envy that person is it wrong? 

Desiring something someone has being envious/jealous according to different scriptures in the Bible can lead to a person bringing harm to someone.  The spirit of jealousy brings feelings of anger/wrath/rage which can lead to abuse which can lead to violence/murder. Jealously seeks to control, this control is witchcraft.  Cain killed his brother Abel, King Saul hunted David for years and tried to kill him, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, the Jews delivered Jesus to Pilate to be crucified and we can also murder people with our words.

We may think there is nothing wrong with desiring what others have but we have to ask ourselves, what is causing me to feel this way?  We may say things to God like; why can’t I talk like that, I wish I could prophesize like that; that person has a lot of wisdom and knowledge, I wish I had that.  Why doesn’t God speak to me like that? That person can really teach or preach. They are so gifted and talented, and I have nothing.  The thoughts about the person have certain gifts and abilities are true however the thoughts about us having nothing are not true.  God created all of us special and he has given each of us talents and abilities, we just have to discover what those are.  We should give praises to God for the blessings that he has given to that person, and then we should ask God to increase our faith, praise God for his blessings.

Again, what is causing me to feel this way?  How does this feeling of envy make me feel about myself and about the person I am envious of?  Being envious where we desire or covet what others possess is not from God.  Satan was envious of God and he wanted what God possessed, this envy caused him to be lifted up in pride and he tried to overthrow God, there was a war in heaven.  Isaiah 14:12-15, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

There are many scriptures in the Bible that speak about envy, here are a few….A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones (Proverbs 14:30), For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another (Titus 3:3),  But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:14&16). 

The word of God tells us in I Corinthians 13: 4 that charity (love) does not envy.  When we are envious we are coveting what someone has.  Not being covetous was one of the commandments in the Old Testament.  Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  If we love our neighbor we will not be envious of anything they possess whether it is spiritual gifts, natural talents, and abilities or earthly possessions.  Therefore if we are envious we must search ourselves and get to the root cause of it. 

When we have the spirit of envy it is usually because we see or think we see a shortcoming in ourselves.  It is caused by being dissatisfied with something we perceive about ourselves because of low self-esteem.  Envy is caused by an emotional wound of not feeling preferred; the spirit of envy may say “they don’t care about me. If they cared about me they would recognize me.”  The spirit of envy comes when we look for our self-worth in other places rather than the Lord.

We mistakenly believe that if we had what they have we would be happy, but this is not true.  It is just one of the lies Satan tells.  These feelings make us feel inferior and inadequate.  These roots can go deep, and they often begin to form in childhood.  Not only that, but Satan uses every opportunity he can to strike a blow to continue wounding us.  He knows our fears and weaknesses and he uses different situations to reinforce what we think is true about ourselves.  Praise God for the victory, we have been given power and we no longer have to walk in defeat.

In I Samuel 16:6-9 King Saul was jealous because David received more honor than him from the people.  Instead of being happy for David, for what God had done through him, how God used him to defeat the enemy, he became bitter.  He was afraid David was going to replace him as king.  This led him to later want to kill David, Saul hunted David and did everything in his power to kill David but God protected him.  This is why having a spirit of envy and a spirit of jealousy is wrong.  If not checked it will lead to a root of bitterness in our hearts and this will bring wrong actions and speech. 

The spirit of jealousy/envy is evil.  It manifests itself in so many ways.  Churches are jealous and envious of other churches.  This spirit breeds competition, trying to outdo each other, refusing to help each other, refusing to fellowship with each other, refusing to work together to bring God’s kingdom to earth.  Looking at what others have and comparing ourselves to them.  Jealousy/envy will cause other pastors and lay members to talk about other fellowships. Not only are jealousy and envy works of the flesh but also: covetousness, debate, strife, hatred, division and resentments, these are all related.  These feelings can cause us to be ungrateful, unappreciative, judging and comparing ourselves to others.  We must be willing to let go of all the negative emotions, this is not always an easy process, especially if we are dealing with roots, because these roots can go deep but with the help of God, we can obtain deliverance.

We must put envy and jealousy in check.  But how? To reiterate, jealousy is born out of fear, fear of losing what we have to someone. Fear is of the devil, fear brings torment.  Envy is desiring what someone has.  Jealousy and envy can become a stronghold if we do not deal with it.  Jealousy can cause a person to become obsessed with how they compare to others.  The person who is jealous can become vengeful or apprehensive out of fear, as in the case of King Saul and David. We can be delivered if we turn to God.  We must admit we have allowed this spirit to gain access to our spirit.  We must examine ourselves and dig deep to see why we are envious or jealous, what are the root causes? How did I get like this, but for us to do this we must be honest with ourselves.  Ask the question, why am I feeling this way? Shine a light on it. Somewhere in our life, a door was opened, we may not even be aware of how or when it occurred.  Each of us has something in our past that opened doors for Satan to enter in.  We must pray to God for deliverance and REPENT because this is a spiritual battle. We must learn what the word of God says.  Pray to God continuously for deliverance and healing of the hurt/s that brought about these emotions.  FORGIVE.

We have to cast down wicked imaginations… read II Corinthians 10:4-5. Our job through the help of the Holy Spirit is to discover those doors and shut them.  We identify the jealousy/envy by shining light on it.  This light is shined through God’s word.  Recognize whenever these thoughts and feelings surface, memorize Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Rebuke the lies when Satan says you are not good enough, for the word of God says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  My Bible tells me that we have been bought with a price.  We have been given gifts and talents, use what we have.  Realize that God loves you, he created you, and he knows what he has put inside of you.  Realize everyone is unique, discover who you are. 

I know what it means to be envious of others, looking at their gifts and talents and comparing myself to them.  I know what it is to feel inadequate in myself.  But all praises and glory and honor to God for his faithfulness.  God showed me what I needed to do to overcome these thoughts which brought negative emotions.  Freedom comes from knowing that God is the only one we should be working to please.  The only recognition we need comes from God.  His opinion is the only one that matters.  He has great promises to those who walk upright before him, St. John 15:7, “ If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” and I John 3:22.

God loves ME, God loves YOU.  His word says, “for I know the thoughts I think….Jeremiah 29:11. Remember, God wants to set us free.  He does not want us to be bound.  It takes the Holy Spirit to work in us to bring about a change in us. The word says in Ephesians 4:23 that we must be renewed in the Spirit of our minds. We need the love of God to help us overcome these spirits. Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” and I John 4:11-16, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

Praise God for deliverance.

Prophetess Nadine Richmond

The Church Readiness Ministries

 

 

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