“Love…does not envy”.

1 Cor 13:4 NIV

“It has been said that there are really only two classes of people in this world – ‘those who are millionaires and those who would like to be’. There are two kinds of envy. The one kind covets the possessions of other people; and such envy is very difficult to avoid because it is a very human thing. The other kind is worse – it grudges the very fact that others should have what it has not. It does not so much want things for itself as it wishes others had not got them. Meanness of soul can sink no further than that” (W. Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians, p134).

In fact, there is more to envy than concentrating on possessions. People can eat their hearts out because someone else has a better education or a finer singing voice or sporting ability than another person. Envy sours the personal relationships between people, causes people to have distorted pictures both of themselves and of others. If you envy someone their personal gifts you can start to think of that person as your enemy, and assume that they feel the same towards you. Such envy can cause havoc in a Christian fellowship – it obviously did in Corinth where some envied the spiritual gifts of others.

Love is the opposite of envy. When Christ’s Holy Spirit fills your heart you look with kindness towards and love for a person whom you perceive to be better endowed than yourself. You look for and see good qualities in them. You dwell on good things they have done and rejoice when they achieve something worthwhile. If they get recognition you join in the praise and congratulations for them. And you cherish your own gifts.


Lord, purge all envy and jealousy from my heart.