Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:4  
Love does not envy, it does not boast

Focus attribute: love does not envy

Envy: desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to someone else

I’ve always  quickly read over this verse and interpreted it as love shouldn’t be jealous, and moved on. I’m thankful writing this devotion today gives me an opportunity to dig into several different commentaries and think critically about it. It’s exactly what I needed today, and I pray you feel the same way. (If interested, the Gospel Coalition wrote a great & quick commentary on this verse titled “Love does not envy or boast”).

Contextually, this verse was written to the church in Corinth. Church members were feeling envious of others gifts. They were unhappy with their gifts and wanted what others in the congregation had.

To envy is to feel discontentment with yourself and your circumstances. Essentially, it is the feeling that what God has given you is not enough and you’d rather have what He’s given to others. OUCH. Maybe you’re a much deeper thinker than I am, but I’ve never thought about it exactly like that. These verses are also about a love in action. Sometimes, when we are envious of others, we can inadvertently tear others down to make ourselves feel better. Think about in school, being told that bullies are mean to others because they feel bad about themselves. I’m sure you can think of examples of backhanded compliments or snide remarks you’ve gotten that bring you back to that small place. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we can also probably think of examples of when we’ve done this to others out of envy. We’ve all had to apologize for comments we’ve made when we’re “in a bad season”, or “in a weird mood”, etc.

I’m in a season that I don’t necessarily love all the circumstances I’m in. Sometimes, I’ve caught myself wishing I was in the same boat as someone else, instead of in my sinking ship. I’ve never connected that thought to the next dot… in saying that, I’m saying that I am not content with the plans God has for me. The hard thing, but also my favorite thing about being a believer, is that we don’t have to get it. We don’t have to see the big picture. I don’t need to understand why God has the plans for us that He has. Instead, even when I don’t get it, and even when I’m not happy about it, I can find contentment and peace. I know that the Lord sees the big picture and has plans for my good, for a future and a hope (Jeremiah 28:11)  Friend, this verse is deeper than thinking “ok I’ll have to try not to be jealous of x, y, z”.  Rather, it’s finding soul deep contentment in peace because I know I can trust in the Lord’s promises. I know He sees me, even the messy pieces, and He knows what He’s doing. He’s in control, and I’m glad that I don’t have to be because I can trust Him.

Lord, please give me a moment of stillness today to reflect. Please show me the corners of my mind where I’ve allowed envy to creep in. Show me the places in my life that I am not finding contentment. Remind me of Your promises today Lord. Help me to be reminded that You have plans for my future, and that You care for me. Help me to find the peace and contentment that only you can bring to me Lord. Thank you Jesus.

Author: Becca Artymenko