Bitter Envying

Envy, a feeling of discontent or dissatisfaction due to another having more or better, is traditionally considered one of the worst sins. (Pr 27:4) It desires others to have less or worse, and is thus purely and uniquely destructive. It’s also grounded in the primal lie that God Himself does not satisfy (Ps 63:5), and that something else will.

Bitterness is resenting God for not treating us as well as we deserve (if we knew we deserved worse we’d be thankful; since God could improve our lot and hasn’t, our resentment must be toward Him). It presumes God’s not good, that He’s not ordering things rightly, that we could do it better. It’s born of pride; thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. (Ro 12:3)

So, bitter envying is quite the combination! a feeling of resentment toward God for others having more or better; it combines the destructiveness of envy with the arrogance and pride of bitterness. As we find this within we should admit the corruption and deceit it reveals, and turn ourselves back toward the truth. (Ja 1:14) The truth is we don’t deserve better, and what we’re after won’t satisfy us.

Bitterness and envy cripple, trapping us in brokenness; they don’t move us to healthy living. Thankfulness and worship are the healthy counterparts, setting us free to become all God has designed us to be, to live in the fullness (Ep 3:19) and adventure to which He’s called us, a life of ultimate pleasure and goodness. (1Pe 3:10-11)

Truth is, we deserve to be burning in Hell forever; no one suffers eternal Hell who doesn’t fully deserve it, and we’re as bad or worse when left to ourselves. (Php 2:3) Anything else is mercy, God restraining us and giving us repentance (2Ti 2:25), for which we should be exceedingly thankful.

Also, we’re designed to enjoy God supremely; pursuing anything apart from God (as opposed to pursuing it in God, for God and with God) is to try to replace Him with part of His creation. (Ro 1:25) This is based on the primal lie and it will always fail; be sure of it.

We may know these things academically, but when we’re bitter and unthankful, envious and wanton, we reveal another belief system in opposition to God operating within our sub-conscious, our core selves. We did not learn this in Christ. (Ep 4:20) Rather than dismissing this as natural, confess it as a work of the devil, reckon ourselves dead to it (Ro 6:11), ask God to destroy it (1Jn 3:8b), and consistently expose the sub-conscious mind to truth with a prayerful intensity that takes no prisoners. (Mt 5:29-30)

Christ in us, living in and through us, always believes unto joyful obedience. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. (Ep 3:20)

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2 thoughts on “Bitter Envying”

  1. Tim,

    You hit a root sin in America. The thought that God Himself does not satisfy. Rather than say Amen to every paragraph —I will point out what might Add to the strength of what your write. You allude to it in your next to last paragraph: “We may know these things academically”.

    Frankly, I find this work mesmerizing. What I want to see more of, is your explanation of how to move beyond knowing these things academically. How have YOU applied these truths in your life? How did Holy Spirit, our Teacher, confront You. And without going into personal detail in a public blog [i.e., Do not make others look bad] – how did the Snake bite yourself in relation to envy and bitterness? John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent [symbol of sin which bit them] in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up”.

    A public blog may not be the place for this – good personal examples for talking to people you meet in the wilderness of life is encouraged. This is a powerful insightful message. A testimony you can share with others in the valley of decision, especially as you honestly share how I was bit, and how I am overcoming. Often, people in the supermarkets of life ask, “How are you doing?”


  2. Great question Stephen!

    I noticed an involuntary reaction of envy and bitterness springing up within myself when I understood that a good friend of mine was prospering, and perceiving this reaction rightly troubled me. I did not understand why I was reacting the way I was until I thought/prayed about it.

    To overcome, I did as I recommend in the post: confessed the sin to God, acknowledged it as anti-Christ, looked into the lies implied in my subconscious by the reaction, held them up to the light of the Word, and asked for prayer from trusted brothers for God to heal this part of my subconscious with the truth. This was ongoing for several weeks, and was eventually successful: I no longer feel this type of bitter envying as a rule.

    When I do find traces of it still lurking, as it surfaces in other contexts, I remind myself of the underlying truths and the reactions are healed much more quickly now.

    Knowing the truth, deep down in our subconscious, does set us free. This stuff works!!

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