"LOVE does not envy..." (1 Cor. 13:4)
When I hear the word “envy” I instantly think of the color GREEN, as in the old saying, “I’m green with envy.” I want something you have… sort of like coveting.
That's my initial thought… so now let dig a little deeper and see if my first impression is accurate.
Right out of the gate, when I look at this passage in the New American Standard Bible (I typically use the NIV) I see that it does NOT use the word ENVY, but rather JEALOUS, as in “Love patient. Love is kind and is not jealous…” Hmmm.. okay, let's keep digging.
ACCORDING TO StudyLight.Org
THE GREEK word here is “dzayloo,” a verb that means "to burn with zeal, to be heated or to boil with envy, hatred and anger. In a good sense to be zealous in the pursuit of good.”
So, AGAPE is BALANCED. It possesses deep yearning and pursues that which is good with zeal, but it keeps that zeal in check and doesn’t allow it to “boil over” in a harmful or unhelpful way.
Benson’s Commentary (BibleHub.Com)
Benson writes, “Love envieth not — The advantages, gifts, or graces, which others possess, but rather takes pleasure in them, and by friendly participation makes them its own.”
I think I’m getting the picture here…
It is a positive thing to desire good and godly things, but we must keep a reign on our heart and make sure that our “zealous desires" don’t morph into “jealous desires." It’s a noble thing to be motivated to achieve good things, but it’s sinful and harmful to envy or covet the success of others.
When we celebrate the gifts, abilities and achievements of others and allow them to bless and inspire us, that’s awesome. But when our only response is to turn GREEN with envy (my intial hunch was a good one) and to covet those gifts and abilities—that is harmful. It doesn’t help us, or anyone around us.
And so it is in this sense that Paul says, AGAPE does not envy; it is not jealous.
Take a moment today to ponder this aspect of AGAPE. Ask God to fill you with passion to pursue good things and to set you free from any desire that it tainted by envy!
Below you will see a link to an AWESOME book on this subject by Joyce Meyer! I encourage you to check it out!
Thanks for reading. Remember to share!