Love Does Not Envy
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
— I Corinthians 13:4

So far in our February study on love, we've established that love is patient and kind.  Today, let's continue our study by talking about the fact that love does not envy.  Envy?  What is that exactly?   According to the online dictionary, envy is the feeling of discontentment or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.  In short, envy tells us that what we have in not enough.

Sadly, envy is the cause of many broken friendships and marriages.  It examines other relationships and declares them better.  

The guy at the office really understands me.  

What I need is a friend I can rely on.  

My coworker just knows how to make me feel good about myself.

Envy is also the root of much unhappiness and debt.  Once again, it compares our lives to others and finds them lacking.  Lacking in style.  Lacking in stuff.  Lacking in substance.  Just lacking.

The Johnsons put in a pool, so I think we should too.

I know I can't afford it, but I need these new clothes to look as good as Jennifer does.

Yep, this new car lets everyone know that I'm somebody.

Envy relies on the comparison game.  It's always looking elsewhere, exaggerating what others have and belittling what we have.  It whispers--and sometimes shouts--in our ears day and night, "You don't have enough.  You need more.  You aren't enough.  You need to be someone else."  This, of course, leads to ingratitude because we begin to feel that God hasn't given us what we deserve, like He's holding back on us.

The truth is, God hasn't given us what we deserve, which is hell.  Instead, He's given us blessings upon blessings.  He has been so good to us, and we ought to be thankful for what we have instead of always searching for more.  

Besides ingratitude, the biggest trouble with envy is that, in trying to gain more, we're likely to lose what we have.  So, not only does it steal our joy, gratitude, and contentment, but it also steals our blessings in the process.  In short, envy stinks, and love has no dealings with it.

A Quick Note:  As I've been typing this devotion, Barnabas has been trying to get at a mouse that has decided to take up residence in our house. (The really crazy part is we also have a stray cat living under our house.  Are we running a farm here?)  Anyway, he (the dog) has clawed at the floor, barked at the walls and rocked the furniture.  I admit there were moments I envied the owners of well-behaved, non-neurotic dogs and those who had homes which were not occupied by pesky rodents and stray felines.  But then, what kind of boring life would that be, right?  The truth is, my life is good, and I am blessed.  And I refuse to let a crazy dog, a runaway cat, and an unwanted rodent steal my joy.  Perhaps my sanity, but not my joy!

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
— James 3:16