One of our recent Bible study topics was envy in the context of love (1 Cor. 13). What I’m discovering in these Bible studies is that I actually understand much more after a meeting than I do before hand, in preparation. In some ways that seems wrong, at least to some people it does. Other people believe that teaching is the best way to learn. My father used to tell me stories about how much more he learned about basic electronics when he taught it to a class than when he had first learned it himself. This is one of those tidbits of wisdom he passed down to me, the value of teaching to our own education. So of course it makes sense that I would learn more teaching about envy than I did when I first planned the topics for us to study.
And really, that’s how Bible study should be. I’m actually uncomfortable around someone teaching the Bible who acts like he knows everything there is to know already. I don’t want to ever be like that. I know that the moment I think I know everything is the moment I stop learning.
Anyway, I had an epiphany during and after the Bible study. I realized that in order for us to not envy others, we must first value what we already have. This reminded me of something I learned about twenty years ago, that it is very difficult to not do something. It is far, far more difficult to not do something than it is to replace a bad behavior with a different, more desirable behavior. So it’s one thing to say that envy is bad, don’t do it. Learning how to change is an entirely different subject.
We stop envying by appreciating what we have and understanding the value of what we are able to give. And I believe that this begins with an attitude of gratitude (to coin an overly used phrase). When we are thankful for what we have, then we place a greater value on it. When we thank God for what He has given us, we begin to see the value of our own lives and we no longer have a need to envy what others posses.
So yeah, “love doesn’t envy“, is the converse of saying love knows its own worth.
I just love studying the Bible because the learning is ceaseless!