It's easy for us singles to be envious.
We imagine that married couples' lives are so much more fulfilling than ours. We crave the love and affection a marriage partner would bring, and we often think that if only our life was like theirs, we'd finally be happy.
Part of this feeling comes from our culture. Most advertising is geared toward making us dissatisfied, implying that if only we own a certain product or buy some service, it will solve all our problems. If we fall into that trap of searching for the "silver bullet," we find ourselves constantly discontented.
Surprisingly, many married folks don't have it as good as we imagine. The fact that about half of today's marriages end in divorce shows that many marriages are in trouble.
Being envious of others is an easy way to make yourself very unhappy. I should know. I was jealous of other people for much of my life.
When I went to art school, I was envious of the other students' talent. I was envious of comic book artists who were able to realize their dream, while I could not. For many years, I was jealous of successful novelists.
We don't have to look very hard to find something to be resentful about. Whether it's another person's career success, appearance, or wealth, we imagine that they're so much happier than we are.
It's a treadmill that's hard to get off, and like a treadmill, it takes us no where.
God saw the danger in this kind of lust thousands of years ago and banned it in his Tenth Commandment:
"You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
Nobody uses the word "covet" any more, so we think we're not breaking this commandment when we envy someone. But the two words are interchangeable.
By focusing so much on another person and what they have, we forget about what we have. We become ungrateful. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others that we fail to develop our own talents and abilities.
God wants us to become the person he created us to be, not a copy of another. The breathtaking aspect of God's creation is that everything is unique. Even two sparrows that appear identical truly are not--and as we all know, God values us so much more than sparrows.
Sometimes it's hard to find our own talent, so we try to emulate another's. But talent, like personalities, is also unique. There are thousands of Elvis impersonators, but there was only one Elvis!
God will help you find your talent and abilities if you ask him; he'll also help you develop them. And most of all, he will help you grow those qualities that make you like Jesus. That's something worthwhile to aspire to, not be envious about.
o stop being envious of others, we have to recognize the true value in ourself. This starts with building our self-esteem.
When we understand that our worth comes not from something we do, something we own, or what we look like, but from our relationship with Jesus Christ, we've made the first big step in booting jealousy out of our life.
It was a struggle for me. It took years. I had to let go of some of my dreams, but God gave me new ones, dreams he custom-made to my talents and desires.
You can root envy out of your life, too. How much more exciting it is to build your own life instead of being a knock-off of another's. What a thrill it is when God arranges circumstances and introduces people to help you grow.
This is one of the most electrifying parts of the Christian adventure.
Don't worry about what someone else is or can do. Concentrate on being the best you that you can be. When you do, God will pour so much excitement into your life that envy will become a thing of the past.