For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is. “We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 2Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
This scripture is common to many believers when it comes to defining love. I even used it as the key verse at my wedding. We committed to memory and pledged to carry out this meaning. But there was one problem. We didn’t quite understand the “It does not envy” part. It was not until much later that I understood this portion of the verse.
So let’s look at the term envy. Envy is defined as a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage! (Merriam-Webster) That means, in a relationship of any kind, to love a person means to not have a resentful desire towards something they possess, whether it be a characteristic, a house or car, or any type of achievement.
Lately I’ve had to remind myself that often times others that act ugly toward me are not acting of themselves, but of the enemy. Just like the enemy can taint people with other emotions and desires, envy is not off of his list. Envy likes to lurk around the accomplishments of friends, weddings, new babies, new houses, flourishing businesses, and Facebook! Why does the enemy attach himself to such wonderful things? Because he understands that these are the things that get our attention.
Remember his job is to steal, kill, and destroy [John 10:10]. If he can reel you in with envy, he can destroy you.
I believe that true love in a friendship is experiencing that person’s highs, lows, accomplishments and disappointments, with a humble and honest sense of support. For example, I have very successful friends. They are doctors and practitioners, lawyers, engineers, business owners, pastors and stay at home moms. I don’t fit into any of those categories. At one point it seemed as though all of them were budding at the same time. I could have easily been angry and began to act “stank” because I had not reached the point in my career where I wanted to be. But when you truly are proud of your friends and confident in the God you serve, you realize two things 1) If God is blessing those close to me, then I know He is near, and 2) their blessing would be disastrous for me if I tried to wear it and the same for them. What God has for me, is for me only. He tailors His blessings, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV. And Ministers, we are not excluded! Being envious of someone else’s anointing or their gift is a sure way to miss your own!
The Bible warns us “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 NIV.
This means you can’t live in peace if you are envious of those you proclaim you love. Your soul will begin to diminish and your attitude will be sour and begin to decay.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “It’s something about her that I don’t like. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like her.” As I grew in Christ I learned a few things from this statement. I either was envious of something she had or recognized a flaw in her that I also had. I tried to mask it with “discernment” but discernment does not reveal empty revelations. When you discern something, God is either prompting you to be aware of something specific, or prompting you to pray and encourage that person. Not, “I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like her.”
Love for your man, your friend, your sister or family member does not envy. It is not love to have anger in your heart against someone who has something that isn’t made for you anyway.
In order for You to create in me a clean heart, sometimes You have to do surgery and that hurts. It’s painful to be open and honest about heart matters, especially when our desires birth anger due to envy. Lord, I ask that you search my heart and remove anything that does not reflect love, because that means it does not reflect You. Teach me how to forgive, how to be genuine, and how to be patient for my “time to shine.” Lord thank You for being so faithful, so loving, and so true to me, even when I don’t deserve it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Ladies, I EMPOWER you to search your heart. We are called to love thy neighbor. That means, whether they are friends or not, we are called to love them. Therefore, suit up in the armor of God so that you may be wise against the devils schemes [Ephesians 6:10-18] . When he tries to lure you into an envious battle, remind yourself that envy rots the bones and that what God has for you, is better than what you think you really want. I love you!
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18 NIV
Have you ever found yourself in an envious position? How did you handle it?
As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL