I’ve mentioned before how much I love classic Veggie Tales. One of my favorite episodes is King George and the Rubber Ducky. In this episode, which is innocently based off the story of David and Bathsheba, Larry plays the role of King George, a greedy ruler who loves rubber ducks. He has hundreds of perfect bath toys, but he decides that he must have the duck that belongs to one of his loyal subjects.
As I began to write this post, my mind flitted to King George aggressively discarding his ducks and singing about his newfound desire for Thomas’s toy (skip to 3:30 for the scene that I referenced).
Most of us probably do not throw the outrageous tantrum that George did. However, I do think that envy plagues our society. In a world of social media portfolios, we desire to have a life as adventurous, as beautiful, as happy, as exciting, or as perfect as the photos that we see on Instagram.
Ten Verses For When You Feel Envious
Before we get to the verses, I want to share two reminders that are helpful to me when I start to slip into the world of Instagram-discontentment:
- Instagram is a highlight reel. Most people only show the happy moments, and they never post about hardship or sorrow.
- I am not my friends. God gave me my own life that has unique moments of excitement, beauty, and adventure.
Now that you have heard my shallow wisdom, let’s look into God’s perfect Word. Proverbs provides several practical reasons that we should avoid jealousy.
1. Proverbs 27:4
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
2. Proverbs 6:34
For jealousy makes a man furious,
and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
3. Proverbs 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
Unchecked envy destroys us from the inside-out, and it can lead to merciless revenge. This destruction is why God commands us to not be jealous.
4. James 4:2b
You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.
5. Galatians 5:26
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
6. James 3:14-16
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
I completely sympathize with anyone who struggles with jealousy. Our sinful hearts are prone to desire perfection. We want to experience the happiness and prosperity that we see in others. The psalmist said it pretty well in Psalm 73:3.
7. Psalm 73:3, 23
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
…Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
Verse twenty-three cannot be ignored. In spite of feeling envious, we must remember that God is on our side.
8. Psalm 37:1-3
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
The thing is, we are jealous of earthly riches, but eternity is what truly matters.
9. Ecclesiastes 4:4
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Let’s strive to love rather than envy.
10. I Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.