If Only I Were You… {Part 2}

Last time, I started sharing a story, leading into what God’s been teaching me about envy (Part 1 of a three part series). If you haven’t read that post yet, you can find it here. Otherwise…read on and enjoy.

A little recap from the last post:

With only a broad sense of what I was getting myself into, I flipped over to Ephesians 5 and started from the beginning. God had made it clear that this chapter had something I need to hear, and it didn’t take long to find out what it was…

Ephesians 5, verse 3: “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness [envy] must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”

I read on, and it got better. Verses 4-5 read: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

(When I say that it got better, I mean that I was more thoroughly convicted in every single way…geesh.)

One thing I love about the Bible is that we can read it over and over and over again, finding something new and applicable every time. Maybe it’s not “new” in that you’ve never seen it before, but it is “new” in the meaning that its words hold for you for that time of your life.

When I was memorizing Ephesians, I hadn’t paid attention to what those specific verses meant to me. I memorized and moved on without so much as a second thought. But this time, those words were a major punch in the gut.

Because I recognized the jealousy inside of me, I wanted to know what the Bible had to say about this problem. And the answer was quite intense—those who covet will not inherit the kingdom of God. Immediately, one point was clear: jealousy is not something to gloss over and ignore. It’s a real problem and we’ve got to be aware of the hold it can have over our hearts and lives.

In Ephesians 5:3, coveters are listed right alongside those who are sexually immoral and impure.

Yes, some sins have greater immediate consequences, but all are committed in direct opposition to God. All sins separate us from him.

While I may be tempted to downplay the internal sins (envy, pride, lust, etc.), this passage helped me to see that any sin—more specifically, my envy—is not something that God takes lightly. And neither should I.

That realization led me to ask two questions:

  1. What is the root cause of my envy?
  2. And how on earth do I get rid of it?

Thankfully, the answers are easily found in Ephesians 5.

Question #1: What is the root cause of my envy?

Seriously, I wanted to know where the heck it was coming from. Before, I mentioned how it’s possible to read a biblical text over and over, finding something relevant and “new” each time. On this read-through—at this point in the story, I’m still sitting at a table in a college dining hall—I found a few short, yet invaluable words that I had never thought twice of before.

When describing an envious person, Paul writes in verse five, “everyone…who is covetous (that is an idolater) has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (emphasis added)

More is being said in this verse than I’m about to cover here, but it was the four words in between those parentheses that I clearly hadn’t taken the time to understand.

Reading that a coveter is equivalent to an idolater made some light bulb go off in my brain. And though I’m no Bible scholar, it seems clear that envy and idolatry are entirely intertwined.

Suddenly my problem made perfect sense. The root cause of my envy?



Tune in on Saturday for “If Only I Were You… {Part 3}” to hear some thoughts on the relationship between envy and idolatry…and exactly what we are supposed to do about it.

P.S. The next post features some really amazing Tim Keller quotes. It’s worth stopping by 😉

Samantha fell in love with the Bible's storyline of redemption as a 19-year-old college freshman. Now, she writes to help women deepen their faith and find hope through this story, and see how their own stories overlap. She loves following winding mountain trails, curling up with a good book, and laughing so hard her face hurts. :)

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