Envy is often rooted in a struggle to gain identity. Cain and Abel…Rachel and Leah…Sarah and Hagar…Saul over David…Miriam and Zipporah…the biblical list goes on. Yet no one suffered at the evil intent of envy like Jesus.
Try to imagine the home life of Jesus’ family. Imagine having a brother who did no wrong ~ who excelled at everything ~ who had the perfect connection with Father God. There was a constant swirl about Him, while his blood brothers struggled with their fleshly envy.
Religious leaders wanted to take Him out as soon as He emerged in ministry. Synagogue rulers cloaked their envy in rules and lame attempts at what they deemed ‘noble passions’…trying to deflect attention on to secondary issues. They were deceived by the true nature of their hearts.
Father God strategically designs that we live in Christian community. In this community others are called of God to work in our same vineyard. We co-labor with Him while relating to our brothers and sisters of this family of God. But what happens when one works less hours than you, yet receives the same recognition, …. or the same pay, as depicted in the parable of the landowners who hired men for various labor hours of the day ~ while being paid the same. [Matthew 20]
It is to the glory of God that we confess our envy of others and deal with its ugly fingers on our souls. Bob Mumford says, “Envy is a crab bucket mentality.” You never have to put a lid on a crab bucket because crabs will never let the others get to the top.
“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” [James 3:14-17] How interesting that these words were penned by Jesus’ brother James. After the resurrection of Jesus, James came to know his own identity in Christ.