«Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s hostility will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim» Isaiah 11:13, NM
IF you WERE to ask me, «Vladimir, do you consider yourself to be an envious person?» without a second thought I would reply that I don’t. If we asked the same question to Asaph the psalmist, who unlike me had no problem accepting his faults and weaknesses, he would reply, «But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked» (Psalm 73:2, 3). In Proverbs 27:4, Solomon asks, «Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, but who is able to stand before jealousy?»
Envy is so rooted in our hearts that we are able to bring it to the spiritual realm and, as Paul said, «Some [of us] indeed preach Christ even from envy.» Even if we want to deny it, the fact is the flames of envy have been stoked in our souls.
According to Dr. Robert L Leahy, there are three kinds of envy:
Depressive envy, which makes us feel like losers when we compare ourselves with others. It is the envy Rachel felt when she realized Leah had sons and she did not. Her envy led her to tell Jacob, «Give me children, or else I die!» (Genesis 30:1).
Hostile envy, an active envy that drives us to act against the person we envy. An example of this is the envy Joseph’s brothers felt, to the point that their feeling of envy led them to get rid of him.
Benign envy, which Leahy defines as «a neutral kind of envy; you observe that someone else has succeeded, and you admire them and give them credit for what they have done.»* It is the envy of those who began to preach Christ when they saw Paul.
Since envy is natural in us as humans, we need a supernatural power—love—to be able to banish that corrosive feeling from within our sinful hearts. The prophet Isaiah promised that when the Lord would lift His hand over us «Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s hostility will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim» (Isaiah 11:13, NIV).
Let’s allow God to fulfill His promise and eradicate envy and sow more love among us.