How to Overcome (Envy Part 1 of 5)

I feel it whenever I would read about someone half my age earning twice my salary. Or meet a famous author whose books sold millions worldwide.


I feel it. Envy. The green-eyed monster.


In wishing I were this high-earner or that author, I was, in effect, telling God that He was holding out on me. Why did He bless that guy and not me?


Envy is a heart issue. I began to unlock the vise grip of envy as I read how John the Baptist responded to a similar situation.


Let’s begin with John at the height of his popularity. “The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him” (Mark 1:5). Make no mistake; the Baptist was a crowd-drawer. He was preaching to and baptizing multitudes.


Then Jesus entered the scene. In the Gospels, we read how John baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him to be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Immediately, John lost at least two of his disciples to Jesus.


Later, Jesus’ popularity grew so that more and more people were going to Him. We can sense the alarm in John’s disciples when they told him, ““Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan – the one you testified about – well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” Or to paraphrase: “Hey, Johnny. He’s stealing our business. We gotta do something!”


Had John been a lesser man, he would have regarded Jesus as a threat, encroaching into his territory and poaching his followers. He could have gotten angry, insecure, jealous or depressed. He could have worried that, in due time, he would be reduced into a religious has-been.


But the Baptist’s response had an amazing absence of resentment or envy. In fact, John was even rejoicing. I discovered four lessons to counter the envy that gnawed at my soul, which I will share in the next posts. Stay tuned!


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