In June 28, 2016, Punch online news reported that a 22-year-old woman, Bara’atu Rabiu, was remanded in the Minna Medium Security Prison for allegedly cutting off the penis of her rival’s one-month-old baby, Buhari. When the police public relation officer in the state was asked why she committed such a gruesome act, he said:
“The woman used a sharp knife to cut through the genitals of the one-month-old baby. She had been married to her husband for seven years without any child. So, out of pressure, the man decided to marry a second wife. When the second wife had a baby, she became angry and frustrated. She thought the best thing to do was to kill the child.”
In one word she was ENVIOUS. She was filled with the Satanic spirit of envy towards her husband’s second wife for being able to give the him a Child, and to make the matter worse, a male Child.
The wise man, Solomon, ask a question which he could not give an answer:
“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” Pro 27:4.
Who is able to Stand before Envy? definitely, no one.
WHAT IS ENVY?
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these . . . Envyings . . and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21
The Bible defines Envy as:
“one of the fruit that a carnal, fleshly man bears or produces which shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
According to Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary:
Envy is defined as:
“Pain, uneasiness, mortification (deep shame or embarrassment) or discontent excited by the sight of another’s superiority or success, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often or usually with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed. Envy springs from pride, ambition or love, mortified that another has obtained what one has a strong desire to possess.”
From this definition the following can be noted:
Envying occurs 1.) when we sight another person’s superiority, 2.) or another person’s success, 3.) which brings pain and discontentment, 4.) and this leads to a strong hatred, strong malignity. That is, a strong desire to do evil, 5.) and a wicked desire to depreciate the person and make him feel depressed.
It is imperative to note that the word Envy is derived from the Latin word invidia meaning “to look against, to look at in a hostile manner or to look with enmity.”
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENVY AND JEALOUSY
In the NKJV, the Bible separate Jealousy from Envy. This shows that the two are different in some degree.
Jealousy is defined as:
“That passion of peculiar uneasiness which arises from the fear that a rival may rob us of the affection of one whom we love, or the suspicion that he has already done it; or it is the uneasiness which arises from the fear that another does or will enjoy some advantage which we desire for ourselves. A man’s jealousy is excited by the attentions of a rival to his favorite lady. A woman’s jealousy is roused by her husband’s attentions to another woman. The candidate for office manifests a jealousy of others who seek the same office. The jealousy of a student is awakened by the apprehension that his fellow will bear away the palm of praise. In short, jealousy is awakened by whatever may exalt others, or give them pleasures and advantages which we desire for ourselves. Jealousy is nearly allied to envy, for jealousy, before a good is lost by ourselves, is converted into envy, after it is obtained by others.”
SECULAR PSYCHOLOGISTS AND PHILOSOPHERS AGREE TO THIS DIFFERENCE
Even secular Psychologists and Philosophers acknowledge the difference in feelings and thoughts of these two works of the flesh. In 1993, Gerod Parrot draws attention to the distinct thoughts and feelings that occur in jealousy and envy. He differentiated the two as follows:
The common experience of Jealousy
- Fear of loss
- Suspicion of or anger about a perceived betrayal
- Low self-esteem and sadness over perceived loss
- Uncertainty and loneliness
- Fear of losing an important person to another
The common experience of envy
- Feelings of inferiority
- Resentment of circumstances
- Ill will towards envied person often accompanied by guilt about these feelings
- Motivation to improve
- Desire to possess the attractive rival’s qualities
- Disapproval of feelings
Parrot acknowledges that people can experience envy and jealousy at the same time. Feelings of envy about a rival can even intensify the experience of jealousy. This is in line with the Bible teaches. A corrupt tree can produce nothing other than evil fruits which are regarded as the works of the flesh. This works of the flesh are embedded in the life of the natural or carnal man. Therefore, whosoever is envious of another’s advantage has the fruit of jealousy dwelling in his heart at the same time because they are all children from the same husband—Satan – who works through the carnal or sinful nature of man.
The Greek Philosopher, Socrates, said “Envy is the Ulcer of the soul.”
WHO WAS THE FIRST TO BECOME ENVIOUS?
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isa 14:12-14
Satan was envious of God’s throne and envious of Christ’s position.
Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 385
“Envy is one of the most satanic traits that can exist in the human heart, and it is one of the most baleful in its effects. Says the wise man, “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” Proverbs 27:4. It was envy that first caused discord in heaven, and its indulgence has wrought untold evil among men.”
Ellen G. White, The Great controversy, Review and Herald, September 14, 1897. Par. 7
“Envy and jealousy are diseases which disorder all the faculties of the being. They originated with Satan in paradise. He started on the track of apostasy, and his jealous spirit caused him to see many things that were objectionable, even in heaven.”
WHERE IN THE BIBLE WAS JEALOUSY AND ENVY DISPLAYED?
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” Gen 4:1-8
Cain was both Jealous and Envious of Abel. These two traits progressively occurred in him. How was he Jealous which was later converted to envy.
He was Jealous of Abel in the sense that:
- God’s respect for Abel awakened Cain’s Jealousy towards Abel (v. 5);
- This respect brought fear, suspicious and change of countenance that his brother will rob him of God’s affection and love (v5);
- He later knew that Abel had rob him of God’s Love when God spoke to him in vs. 6, 7.
He was envious in the sense that:
- He felt God regarded his sacrifice as inferior to that of Abel. (v.5);
- He received disapproval from God because he did not do right (v. 7);
- This disapproval brought pain, discontentment, anger, hatred, ill-will towards his brother who’s sacrifice God accepted (v.5, 6);
- There was a strong desire to depreciate his brother or kill his brother which is regarded as sin that lies at the door of his heart (v. 7);
- This uncontrolled strong desire led him to kill his brother (v. 8).
Envy arises after Jealousy had been awakened. Jealousy comes first before envy. Again, Noah Webster put it rightly:
“In short, jealousy is awakened by whatever may exalt others, or give them pleasures and advantages which we desire for ourselves. Jealousy is nearly allied to envy, for jealousy, before a good is lost by ourselves, is converted into envy, after it is obtained by others.”
CAN A PERSON PRODUCE THE FRUIT OF ENVY AND REMAIN A CHRISTIAN?
To answer this question, we must look at what the Scripture says about frui bearing.
“Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” James 3:11-12
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Mat 7:16-20
Envy is primarily a product of a carnal man; men who have not experience the converting power of the Holy Spirit. We might be in the church, working for the service of God, and still produce this evil fruit, the reason being that the carnal mind or the old man is still alive. We were told that the carnal mind or mind of sin cannot obey the Law of God (Rom 8:7).
Paul in 1 Cor. 3:1-4 wrote to the brethren in the Church of Corinth who claim to be Christians be are still full of envy because they had refuse the milk of God’s word.
He wrote: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” 1Cor 3:1-4
These professed Christians are in the Church claiming to be part of Christ but at the same time envying one another. Paul rebuked such a life and regarded them as carnal men, walking in the flesh. Since these people are still carnal and live according to the flesh, they do not retain God in their mind and this consequently lead to all manner of evil works which envy is one of them (Rom 1:28, 29). Such a person is consequently not part of Christ for Christ can not bear the fruit or works of Satan.
Although the brethren in Corinth had at one time accepted Jesus Christ into their life, they were still living the old life because they had refused to die to the old life and they had refuse to be fed by the sincere milk of the word of God (1 Peter 2:2). Those who do not eat the flesh of Christ as meat and drink the blood of Christ as water will not have life in them to produce the fruit of the Spirit. (John 6:53-58, 63).
Therefore, when a Christian begin to manifest the fruit of envy then he is definitely not part of the vine. For Christ said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Joh 15:1-5.
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS AN ENVIOUS SPIRIT?
- Anger: Cain envied his brother and this led to anger (NKJV) or wroth (KJV). Gen 4:3-5. Also like the opening story. The woman was bitterly angry with her husband and the second wife.
- Quarrel (NKJV) or Strive (KJV): Isaac was evicted and he was quarreled with or was strove with by the philistines. Gen 26:12-22.
- Hatred: Joseph’s brothers hated him and envied him because his father loved him more than the other children and this almost led to them killing him. Acts 7:9; Gen 37:1-11.
- Matrimonial disorder: The opening story is not new. It happended in Bible times between Rachel and Leah. Rachel envied Leah because she could not bare Jacob a child. This angered Jacob and led to his marriage of many wives. Gen 30:1-21.
- Murder: An envious man/woman can kill his brother like in the case of Cain who murdered his brother due to envy. Gen 4:6-8, 1 John 3:12. It can also kill the one who has the evil spirit of envy emotionally and spiritually. Job 5:2. Jesus was delivered to be crucified because of envy. Mark 15:8-15.
- Sickness and decay to the bone: Envy have drastic effect on the soul and health of the carrier of such evil emotion. Prov 14:30.
- Confusion and Evil works: Satan is the author of confusion because God is the author of order. James 3:16-18; 1 Cor. 14:33.
WHEN CAN I BE JEALOUS OR ENVIOUS?
Only God has the right to be Jealous and Envious over us because he own all that is in this world. He also has right over us because He has purchased us from Satan and Sin by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” Exo 20:5
But we can be jealous just as the Lord is. Not to be jealous or envious of what we do not have or what we desire to have but for the service of God. This is also to have zeal for God’s service and see it progress.
Like Elijah who was zealous or Jealous for God’s service to progress.
“And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 1 Kings 19:13-14
Even Jesus was jealous or zealous or envious for the house of His Father.
“And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” John 2:13-17.
This is the only exemption. Anything outside of this kind of jealousy or envy is a sin. We also need to be careful as we exhibit such spirit even when we think we are doing the right thing so as not to wound any soul whom Christ had died for.
HOW THEN SHALL WE BE DELIVERED FROM THIS BONDAGE
- To be delivered is from the spirit we must experience genuine conversion by dying to the Old nature and putting on the new nature. Romans 6:6, 7, 18, 22; Romans 13:12-14; Col 4:22-24; 2 Cor. 5:17; Titus 3:1-7.
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, Review and Herald, September 14, 1897. Par 9.
“Genuine conversion is needed, not once in years, but daily. This conversion brings man into a new relation with God. Old things, his natural passions and hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, pass away, and he is renewed and sanctified. But this work must be continual; for as long as Satan exists, he will make an effort to carry on his work. He who strives to serve God will encounter a strong undercurrent of wrong. His heart needs to be barricaded by constant watchfulness and prayer, or else the embankment will give way; and like a mill-stream, the undercurrent of wrong will sweep away the safeguard. No renewed heart can be kept in a condition of sweetness without the daily application of the salt of the word. Divine grace must be received daily, or no man will stay converted.”
- Ask God for a new heart and new spirit daily: Psalm 51:1-3,10
- Ask God for what you don’t have because all good gifts are from Him. James 1:17; 4:1-3; 1 John 5:14, 15; Matt 21:22.
- Trust in the Lord: Psalm 37:1-5
- Feed on God’s word daily to purify your heart. 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 1 Peter 2:2; John 17:17; 15:3.
- Be content with what God gives you. 1 Timothy 6:6.
As we wait for Christ second coming we are to put the advice of the wise man before our face often:
“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked. For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.” Pro 24:19, 20.
May our candle as Christians never be put off. May the Oil of the Holy Spirit continue to keep us burning until Christ appearing. Amen!
How to Cite this article: Odunuga, O. E, “The deadly seed of envy?” keepyoufromfalling ministry. Retrive 10.00am. July 5, 2016 from https://keepyoufromfalling.com/2016/07/05/the-deadly-seed-of-envy/