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How to Avoid Envy for Mental Health

"Love trumps envy." - Israel Otto Manalo

I remember my earliest memory of envy. We lived in Project 4, Quezon City, when I was about two to three years old. I loved He-Man, and I never missed a show.

One day, I went to a neighbour’s house for a play-date. There were other kids, but I had already forgotten their faces and names. What stuck in my head was my neighbour’s toys.

He had a full set of the Masters of the Universe action figures. He had He-Man, Battle Cat, Skeletor, Skeletor’s Cat and the rest of the heroes and villains.

I recalled how badly I wanted his toys and how disappointed I was with mine. Can you imagine anyone being envious at such an early age?

Today, social media makes it extremely difficult not to envy. Marketing professionals are becoming so good that they could create a need that we didn’t even know we had. We all experience the feeling of envy. We need to remind ourselves that this behaviour is unpleasant and dangerous.

The Bible says,

Proverbs 14:30

New International Version (NIV)

30 A heart at peace gives life to the body,

however, envy rots the bones.

We need to be aware of envy because it can lead to depression.

How can we stop envy?

James 3:16

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

We need to understand that we will lose peace if we keep envy in our hearts. Let’s decide to check our hearts and minds for envy. If we notice any trace of bitterness, we should exert effort to shift our thoughts to Jesus.

Proverbs 10:12

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences.

Love can cover envy. Instead of focusing on the feeling of jealousy, we should focus on the love we have for that person. If we have trouble finding the love, we should focus on Jesus, the perfect example of love.

Psalm 25:4-5

Make me know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you, I wait all day long.

We should ask God to teach us how to shift our minds on other things. This task is hard, but possible. Pause to pray and read the Bible.

Ecclesiastes 4:4

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbour. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

What do we envy? We should remember that everything on earth is temporary. That thing we desire might not even be relevant after a few years. It’s not worth the stress.

James 4:2

You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

When we feel envious, we should pray. Instead of feeling jealous, we should ask God to give us a heart that can rejoice for other people’s success. We read in His word that the reason why we don’t receive is that we don’t ask God for it so we should also ask God for anything we desire.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves.

It is good practice to think of others highly. This will keep us humble.

Colossians 4:2

New International Version (NIV)

2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Last, we should always give thanks for our blessings. When we feel envious, let’s count our blessings and thank God for it. Focus on the good things that God has done.

Envy is a dangerous thing. Giving too much attention can lead us to depression. Watch out for resentment and be very aware of your thoughts. Remember that God helps us with the challenges we face in our daily lives.

Thank you for reading this devotional story and I pray that it encouraged and empowered you in your walk with Christ. Please read other devotional stories on the website. You might find Be Kind, Fish Love, God's Love in Action interesting.

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