KALEO Notes: Envy & its Remedy (Psalm 20)

(These are my teaching notes for tonight, but you can also use them as a personal Bible study by looking up the Scriptures and tracing the outline.)

Introduction: One of the most terrible thoughts that enters my mind is that little twinge of frustration I feel when another pastor or writer is more “successful” than me. Or the bit of satisfaction I feel when he or she is not as “successful” as me. When we talk about having problems with our thought life, we usually think of sexual themes. But envy and jealous are equally bad, if not worse. They are satanic (satan-like).

I. Biblical Examples of Jealousy

  1. Satan. See Ezekiel 28:12-15, and notice that verse 15 gives us as close as we can come to discovering the original source of evil in God’s universe. It arose by spontaneous generation in the heart of Lucifer. Compare with Isaiah 14:12-15.
  2. Cain. See Genesis 4:1-8
  3. Joseph’s Brothers. See Genesis 37:11
  4. Saul. See 1 Samuel 18:8-9
  5. The Disciples. See Matthew 17:1 & 16; 18:1; 18:21; 20:20-21 & 24
  6. The Accusers of Christ – Matthew 27:18
  7. The Corinthians – 1 Corinthians 3:3

This is a very serious sin. It cast Satan out of heaven; led to the first murder; prompted Joseph’s brothers to betray him; ruined Saul’s life and cost him the kingdom; tore the disciples apart; motivated the murder of the Son of God; and fractured the church at Corinth. That’s why Proverbs 14:30 says: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

II. Biblical Remedies for Jealousy

  1. Love that Person. First Corinthians 13:4 says: “Love does not envy.” I’m not talking about our own human attempts at affection, but the genuine love of Jesus. Love wants what is best for the other person. We have a lot of romantic notions about love, but Jesus-love is simply being happy when someone else succeeds. It wants God’s best for another. Memorize the first verses of 1 Corinthians 13.
  2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. God’s plan for each of us in uniquely designed. See John 3:26-27 & 30; John 21:20-23; and 2 Corinthians 10:12-13.
  3. Pray for Those whom You’re Prone to Envy. Use Psalm 20 as a model:
  • Verse 1: Ask the Lord to answer the other person’s prayers
  • Verse 1: Ask the Lord to protect the other person
  • Verse 2: Ask the Lord to help and support the other person.
  • Verse 3: Ask God to prosper the other person spiritually
  • Verse 4: Ask God to grant the other person success
  • Verse 5: Ask God to give you a joyful attitude when those prayers are answered
  • Verses 6:9: Ask God to give you the faith to offer this prayer sincerely and rejoice when the answers comes

Conclusion: The famous Bible teacher F. B. Meyer often ministered at D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conference in Northfield, Massachusetts, and he always drew great crowds.  But when the equally famous G. Campbell Morgan began preaching at Northfield, his stirring Bible studies attracted larger audiences.  Meyer confessed to some of his close friends that he was tempted to feel envious of Morgan.  “The only way I can conquer my feelings,” Meyer said, “is to pray for him daily, which I do.”[i]

[i] Warren W. Wiersbe and Lloyd M. Perry, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers (Chicago:  Moody Press), p. 1984, p. 195.