Envy and Comparison

statues at palace

Envy and comparison are not new.

The writer of Psalm 73 dealt with envy and comparison. He began his psalm stating God is good to those whose hearts are pure. Then the psalmist admits his envy took him close to the edge of the cliff.

But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff. My feet were slipping and I was almost gone. For I was envious of the prosperity of the proud and wicked. Yes, all through life their road is smooth. (2-4)

When the psalmist looked at the prosperous people around him, he couldn’t understand. Their lives looked trouble-free. Why did God allow the wicked to prosper? The psalmist wanted a life like that.

They aren’t always in trouble and plagued with problems like everyone else. It is so hard to explain it–this prosperity of those who hate the Lord. (5, 14)

As the psalmist struggled with his feelings, he went into the LORD’s sanctuary to meditate. There, he thought about the future of these evil people. While in God’s presence, the psalmist realized all wasn’t as it seemed.

Then one day I went into God’s sanctuary to meditate, and thought about the future of these evil men. What a slippery path they are on. Their present life is only a dream. They will awaken to the truth as one awakens from a dream. (17-18, 20)

With this realization, the psalmist saw himself as a stupid animal. He’d been envious and jealous, when all that matter was his relationship with the Father. God held the psalmist right hand. God would keep right on guiding him all his life. When the psalmist life on earth ended, God would receive him into the glories of heaven.

Whom have I in heaven but you? My health fails, my spirits droop, yet God remains. He is the strength of my heart. He is mine forever. (25)

God remains. He is our strength. He is ours forever. (26)

But those refusing to worship God will perish, for he destroys those serving other gods. (27)

But as for me, I get as close to him as I can! I have chosen him and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways he rescues me. (28)

The writer of Psalm 73 figured out the cure for envy and comparison. Spend time with God. Realize the stupidity of envy. Acknowledge the faithfulness of God. Get as close to God as possible. And tell everyone about the wonderful ways God rescues.

What worked for the psalmist in combating envy and comparison centuries before Christ was born, works for us.

Whenever the twinge of envy raises its head, we should do what this psalmist did. Seek out God in his sanctuary. Draw close to the One who will never leave; the One whose opinion matters most.

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But as for me, I get as close to him as I can. I have chosen him and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways he rescues me. Psalm 73:28 (TLB)

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Image by Laurent Verdier from Pixabay.

Ever Been Envious?

As I was thinking about the comparisons I often make between other people and myself, instead of holding God’s truth as my standard of measurement, I received my June Prayer

and Praise Newsletter from author, Patricia Raybon. I met Patricia several years ago, when she was a presenter at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. After reading my friend’s newsletter, I contacted Patricia. While we discussed the issue of envy, Patricia reminded me of something I would like to share with any of you who may be envious of others, or who compare yourself to someone else. Patricia said, Each person is unique. God has planted different things in each of us.

Patricia gave me permission to share the words from her newsletter with you. I would encourage you to go to Patricia’s website and sign up for her newsletters.

Do you compare yourself to others? Or even sometimes feel envy? It’s not just a modern problem. This rap version of Psalm 73 captures the feeling as if it were written today. “For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper.”  It’s a striking lament about life’s unfairness and the bitter feelings that can result. In the end, however, the psalmist finds the solution: “Whom have I in heaven but you?” he declares to God.  “I desire you more than anything on earth.”

Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two people are alike. God knit each of us together in our mother’s womb to be individuals. We are woven and spun according to His master plan. The Creator God put in us what He wanted to put in. And left out what He wanted to leave out. A Righteous Almighty God allows the rain to fall on the just, and the unjust.

Instead of wishing we were something we are not, or could do something we cannot, let’s be content. Let’s celebrate our uniqueness. Let’s be grateful for what we do have, and grateful for what we can do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.



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