Envy is pain at the success of others. When you see another person’s success as the reason for your failure, you are walking in envy. When you are unable to rejoice at another person’s success, you have envy.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked…Later, Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you. ”
~John 5: 2-9, 14
The invalid at the pool of Bethesda had a problem with others getting ahead of him into the pool to get their own miracle. He had an issue with that – while I’m trying to get in, somebody else goes down ahead of me.
Do you feel pain when people get ahead of you? Do you get a little uneasy when someone gets something you want, while you did not get it? Maybe there’s an opportunity, or position that you want, and somebody somehow is getting it ahead of you, how do you feel?
It might be easy for you to sit down and say, “Well, I don’t have problems with bitterness. I don’t have the sin of envy”. But examine your heart very well. How do you feel when your friend gets married? Do you still retain the friendship? Are you still happy? When someone gets what you want; when people pay compliments to someone beside you– while not noticing you– how do you feel?
How do you feel in the company of success, if that success is not yours? How do you feel in the presence of progress, when you are not the one making the progress? How do you feel when someone other than you is being celebrated? Someone else is successful and everyone else is talking about this person, how do you feel sitting down there? Do you feel happy? Do you feel comfortable? Or do you feel edgy and jittery? Do you feel like snapping or exploding? Do you feel like saying something else? Do you want to change the topic?
Actually, there are folks that change the topic whenever you start talking about your own successes. Have you been around people like that before? Something good happens to you, and while you are sharing the story, they quickly change the topic. Or if you are talking about someone else who is successful, they change the story. They are not comfortable with the success stories of other people. That’s the problem that I see in this man’s life. He was probably infested with bitterness, and envy about the healings taking place in his environment, about his family, and other things. They might have treated him badly, and so he was no longer happy.
It is not enough to not be bitter, but also, guard your heart against bitterness.
James 3: 14
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.”
Heavenly Father, please help me to rejoice in the success of others, and to not walk in envy, in Jesus’ name.