The Sinkhole of Envy: The First Act of Envy


Now Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain, a worker of the ground. In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”


Cain spoke to Abel, his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.


Genesis 4:1-8



Envy is a highly complex emotion. It’s often identified by feelings of jealousy and resentment, or it can appear as a strong desire for what someone else has. Sources of envy are lifestyle, status, or even relationships.


Quite simply, envy is a sense of discontentment with your own life. Discontentment because you desire to have but have not gotten, or covetousness towards another person’s possessions, leads us to think that life isn’t fair.


Envy can push us to always seek more. Suppose we constantly feel too envious. It can become harmful and cause problems in our relationships, making us feel like we’re not as good as the people we envy.


Envy is one of the most destructive emotions a person can have. The ability to handle envy healthily is crucial, especially in recognizing its root causes.





When a person experiences envy toward someone else, it may cause feelings of resentment toward that individual that may grow intensely. At first, people may deny feelings of envy. We tend to shift the blame toward others and project our feelings, making it seem that the problem lies with them rather than with us.




Genesis 4:3-5 gives us little insight into why God accepted Abel’s offerings but not Cain’s. Cain then makes a faulty comparison between him and Abel. Both offerings were given to God, but ultimately it was up to God to decide whether to accept or reject them.


Cain’s issue was not really with Abel. A faulty comparison always causes envy. Cain’s frustrations should have been directed at God because God rejected Cain’s offerings.


Nobody wants to blame God, though, right? Although in reality, it is God whom we have the issue with. But you don't want to blame God, so you project your emotions on somebody else.





In Genesis 4:6-7, Cain had every chance to bring God another offering. Still, instead of being mature enough to say that he had things to work on, he made it about somebody else.


What someone else does or doesn’t do has no barrier to what God allows in your life.


Some people envy someone else’s success, but don’t envy what it takes to be that successful. We often envy the person’s results and not their sacrifice to get to where they are now.


Cain was envious of Abel’s gift being accepted when all that he had to do was do what Abel did: bring a more acceptable offering to God. Hebrews 11:4 clarifies why God chose Abel’s offerings over Cain’s.


If God does not accept your offering, the problem is not with someone He accepted. You may need to go back and try to bring Him your best. Too often, we blame other people for where we are in life. It's always someone else's fault, not our own.


When you find yourself looking at other people's life juxtaposed against your own, trying to figure out why this has happened or why stuff hasn’t worked out, be careful because you are making yourself vulnerable by allowing Satan to make you envious of what others have.





Genesis 4:8 is a bleak example of how envy ruptures relationships. Envy is pervasive. It spreads everywhere like cancer. Be careful about comparing your life to others.


Cain’s story tells us that not everyone will be happy with what God is doing in your life. There will always be someone bothered by you simply living your life. Social media fuels the flame by having all our best life highlights out there for the world to see.


When you feel bothered seeing other people’s highlights, especially on social media, ask yourself why. Why are you so bothered by it? You may not want to call it envy, but it is what it is.


We all have moments of being envious. We often think we deserve more and don’t understand why God holds back on us but not others. We’ve got to remember that our issue isn’t with the person we’re feeling envious of but with God.


One of the ways to move through being envious is to learn how to celebrate other people’s successes, especially if they’re your friends.





The biggest deception of envy is the fear of missing out. We look at everyone else's life, and we feel inadequate. But we should remember that God works on a different timeline. Our 30-second wait could be 11 years for God. Stop complaining about how long something you desire takes.


In the fullness of time, things will fall into place. It may not be what you imagined, but God has planned everything. Stop looking at other people and being envious of what God is doing in their lives.


Don’t be too busy focusing on what others have that you can’t even appreciate what God is doing in your life. Let God do what He’s supposed to be doing.


The question now is, do you trust God? If you trust God, stop comparing your life to other people’s. God wants us to understand that what He’s doing in someone else's life will not prevent the plan He has for you.


If you could glimpse what God’s preparing for you, you wouldn’t even focus on what others are doing.


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11


God’s got you. Don't allow envy to corrode your heart to the point that you can't even see God moving in your life.


Remember that you are blessed.


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