Battling Envy

Janet Aucoin October 20, 2023

If we’re being honest, who among us hasn’t broken the commandment “Thou shalt not covet?” We see what others have, and we want it for ourselves. It may even be a good thing we are wanting - but one that God has granted to others and not to us.

Janet and Jocelyn explore the struggle common to us all and ways to fight against the envy that wages war within our hearts.

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Episode Transcript



⁠Seeing Green -Tilley Dillehay⁠

Lucy and the Saturday Surprise - Melissa Kruger


⁠Changing What You Treasure - Joyful Journey


Jocelyn: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Janet: I just want to make it as totally simple as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy.

Janet: Okay, welcome back. We're here at Joyful Journey. My name is Janet and I'm here with my lovely co-host, Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: Hi, friends.

Janet: And today we're gonna talk about a common area of sin and weakness, but one that we might not like to acknowledge. Are you excited?

Jocelyn: Oh, I'm anticipating what this is.

Janet: We're gonna talk about envy. As I did some research in preparation for this, I found a variety of definitions and distinctions between envy and jealousy. But before I share what that is, Jocelyn, when I say envy, what comes to your mind?

Jocelyn: Well, my first thought is Instagram, which is why I limit my time on Instagram.

Janet: I love it. Instagram equals envy.

Jocelyn: Envy, which is really, is very true for me. I have my social media is divided by topics like, this is what I use to follow my political people. This is what I use to follow rich people or famous people. This is what I used to follow of my friends. And I use Instagram to follow famous people. And I look at it and I think, look at that perfectly curated picture and think, ugh, they have such a perfect life. Look at their beautiful clean counters. Look at those children happily frolicking in that meadow.

Janet: As your kids are screaming in the background and you're looking around your pit of a house.

Jocelyn: Is someone gonna wash the dishes? So like, usually like when I think of envy, I think of perfectly curated social media post of really important people that have it all together. And I am woefully not that.

Janet: Is someone gonna wash the dishes? So like, usually like when I think of envy, I think of perfectly curated social media post of really important people that have it all together. And I am woefully not that.

Jocelyn: That's not that great. That's not that great.

Janet: No. You can tell he studies better than I do. I said I'm done. I don't know what else to do. But, when I looked at definitions from those who were writing about these words biblically. They shared some differences. So I'm not gonna die on that hill 'cause clearly I was unable to study it for myself and find anything out. But I do wanna share what I learned and what seemed to be at least some differences in focus between envy and jealousy. They are similar. They're just not the same. It in some respect doesn't really matter. I think there's value in thinking through the differences and then what that looks like lived out.

Jocelyn: Yeah, that would be helpful.

Janet: So jealousy seems to have much more to do with a fear of losing something you have or something that you plan to have. So I'm gonna lose it typically to another person, or some rival. So I'm jealous about losing it. Envy is more related to resenting the people on Instagram. Resenting something that somebody else has, but I want it and I don't have it.

Jocelyn: It's the kitchens. The kitchens get me. Perfect beautiful cabinets. But yes, that is helpful. Like

Janet: So it's not that you're afraid you'll lose your kitchen.

Jocelyn: No, no, I would happy to.

Janet: That would be a joy probably. It's the envy. Yes.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: So when I use it this way, I would think of it, jealousy is like fearing I'll lose my husband to a rival.

Jocelyn: That's what I, that's what I was thinking of when you said jealousy. Like when I think of jealousy, I think that girl better not be talking to my husband.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like she would stay away.

Janet: Yes. So, I have him now. But I'm fearing I'll lose him either to a job. So the rival doesn't have to be a person.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: A job or another person. If I am sinfully jealous, I'm ultra sensitive, I'm suspicious. I probably want lots of reassurance.

Jocelyn: Especially suspicious.

Janet: That's true. Yes.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So jealousy. Envy might be if I were single. And I look at Jocelyn and Brian, and I want what they have. I'm bitter and angry, or I'm in despair and I'm hopeless. So.

Jocelyn: That's helpful.

Janet: Seeing these distinctions can help me understand, at least to the degree this is accurate, it would help me understand why God could be a jealous God.

Jocelyn: Totally. Yeah.

Janet: God deserves our loyalty and worship. The only one, and he is righteously jealous of any rival or substitute. Any kind of idolatry.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So when I worship something other than God, it's a rival for God's rightful place and God is a jealous God. So God is due something and can be righteously jealous when I am substituting him.

Jocelyn: Especially when any substitute is so clearly inferior.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like, I think that's why we get jealous of like a woman who might talk to our husband or a job that might take his time away from our home. Like it's so inferior to the real thing.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: It's so inferior to the goodness of the good thing.

Janet: Yes. So we can certainly be sinful in our jealousy.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But you can be jealous righteously and not sin.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But God is never described as envious. Envy is always sinful.

Jocelyn: Because God always has what he wants.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: There's nothing more that he wants, and he can't get.

Janet: He does not look at us and wish he had what we had.

Jocelyn: Or creation and be like, I need more.

Janet: He made it.

Jocelyn: Yeah. The whole world is his.

Janet: So envy is sinful and not very attractive.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: But if we're honest, It's more common than we'd like to admit.

Jocelyn: It's super common, and I'm actually really thankful we're talking about this today because I've been seeing envy and jealousy in my own heart for a couple of years, and it makes me mad.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Like, yeah, this is so ugly and unattractive and it's like surprising, like, whoa, where did that come from?

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: And, but it keeps on happening. All over the place.

Janet: Well, let's figure out where it comes from.

Jocelyn: Yeah. And let's talk about how to get rid of it.

Janet: Yeah, yeah, for sure. 'cause I will tell you, as I studied this, I was definitely convicted of envy in my own heart. Before we dive into how do we deal with it, how can we know if there's envy in our hearts? I'm gonna suggest some statements or stances that I think can indicate I at least need to consider

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: That there's envy going on. I would say defensive statements. Things like I'm just as good as them. This was interesting to me. In the book, Seeing Green Tilly Dillehay had a lot of really good things to say, and she has this insightful comment where she's quoting from CS Lewis's screw tape letters. So it's actually in screw tape letters that he says this. No man who says, I'm as good as you believes it. Isn't that interesting? He wouldn't say it if he did.

Jocelyn: Yeah. He wouldn't even think it. Yeah.

Janet: The Saint Bernard never says it to the toy dog, nor the scholar, to the dunce. Nor the employable to the bum, nor the pretty woman to the plain. The claim to equality outside the strictly political field, he says, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of inferiority, which the patient refuses to accept.

Jocelyn: That's such an interesting quote.

Janet: I know. So anytime you're tempted to go, well, I'm as smart as they are. Here's what you're saying. I don't like that I think they're smarter.

Jocelyn: Right, right. Or that's why you wouldn't need to say it.

Janet: Right. So Envy knows that things are not equal.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And cannot accept that. I want everything to be equal. Only when I think I'm below.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: When I'm above, I'm okay that they're not equal.

Jocelyn: Right. Right.

Janet: So those kinds of defensive statements sometimes we're like, I don't know why I'm always so defensive when I'm corrected. Look for envy. Is that part of what's going on?

Jocelyn: Interesting.

Janet: Envy is also unproductive. It's a strange thing to say, but I do think it's an indicator. If I think someone's better at something or if they have something I desire, and I'm envious, I stew about it, but I don't even do anything to try to attain it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: For instance, if I envy where you are financially, and I say, man, I want the freedom you have. I want the toys you have. Well, do I at least work harder? Do I at least get a job? Do I at least seek to learn how to budget? Or do I just stew and despair and say, It's not fair that they have so much more money than me. So if it's envy, it doesn't even motivate me to better myself with the gifts and abilities God has given me.

Jocelyn: So interesting.

Janet: It's unproductive. Envy is also judgmental. Envy is sure that I deserve what somebody else has. And very possibly envy knows that those other people, they don't deserve it as much as I do.

Jocelyn: That's a little bit rough.

Janet: Oh, it's so ugly.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Because I have a critical spirit. And you know, I'd like to think it's because I have an analytical mind.

Jocelyn: Or 'cause I'm so wise.

Janet: Oh yes. But it's really

Jocelyn: because I'm jealous or envious

Janet: of something.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yes. Frequently.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I'm sure I can be judgmental for other reasons too.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But those are some times you wanna look at it. Another thing that I would say is an indicator of envy, is a false humility. Envy can even masquerade as humility. I start saying things like, I'm a nobody and I can do nothing. We call those Eeyore days. If I had a party, nobody'd come. But you on the other hand, have all the things. Everybody likes you. False humility. Well, how do you think, Jocelyn, how does that different from true humility?

Jocelyn: Well, true humility focuses on God. Focuses on loving God, serving God, loving and serving others. And that kind of humility is completely self-focused.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: So the whole thing you're thinking about the entire time is you and how you don't have something that you want or that you need or other people do. So, you know, living to promote yourself. And also despairing, which is one of my ditches that I get in sometime. Instead of living to promote eternally important things.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: However, God wants to work that out. So also, I think probably materialistic. Like often you're envious about things.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Or you know, components of yourself that in the long run don't matter eternally.

Janet: So it is. False humility then is pride.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: It's a focus on self.

Jocelyn: That's what I was saying. I was just thinking like false humility is another way to say pride.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Like it's the, like the, I am nothing ditch of pride.

Janet: It's the, it's pride not getting what it wants. Pride getting what it wants is arrogant.

Jocelyn: Stilted. Yeah.

Janet: Pride. Not getting what it wants we call sometimes a false humility. Look for envy because what is it that I'm upset about? If I'm truly humble and I realize I brought nothing to the table, anything the Lord lets me do is great.

Jocelyn: That would be true humility.

Janet: Right. But pride masquerading, I'm envious. They can do things that I can't. I'm a nobody. So just some indicators. More because that's not enough, right.

Jocelyn: I was going to say because that's not enough bad stuff.

Janet: Vengeful. We don't like this.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: But envy says it's not fair that you have whatever that is, and I desire to see it taken from you.

Jocelyn: That's really hard.

Janet: Like No, no, no.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: We don't wanna admit that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But it's true. It's not just that I want something that you have, but if I can't have it, I don't want you to have it either. If I'm lonely, I feel better if you're lonely too. But if you are not lonely, That's not okay with me. I want you to be as miserable as I am. Yuck. Yuck. So that's inside all of our hearts. And one last one. An interesting one. Apathetic. And you might think. How do I get away from this? I think that's the point. We really don't get away from it. Even if you just tell yourself and everybody else, I don't even care. I don't even care. I don't even want whatever you have, I don't even care. Basically, I lie to myself and everybody else in order to disguise the envy.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Because if I act like I don't care.

Jocelyn: Blase about all your blessings.

Janet: Yeah. Whatever. So do you see yourself in any of those?

Jocelyn: Oh, I-- like several of them.

Janet: Yeah, me too. But there is great hope. Please don't stop the podcast right now. That would just be totally depressing.

Jocelyn: That would be a bad place to stop.

Janet: Let's spend a little bit of time thinking through where envy comes from. I am gonna a little later talk about some categories that Tilly Dillehay talks about in her book. But I love how she frames the whole concept. She frames the whole book around the concept of glory.

Jocelyn: That's very interesting.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: I've been trying to understand glory for a lot of years, but never from the perspective of it being related to envy and jealousy.

Janet: Yeah. Yeah. And it was so interesting. She sums up just the word glory this way. Glory is the shining joy, beauty, intelligence, power, and goodness of God himself.

Jocelyn: That's an amazing definition.

Janet: Yeah. And we can all agree that only God has intrinsic glory and worth, right? For sure. But really amazing. Psalm 8:5 tells us something else. I'm gonna read all of Psalm eight, so you get to hear 8:5 in its context.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth. So, so far we're seeing the glory of God. You have covered the heavens with your majesty. From the mouths of infants and nursing babies, you have established a stronghold on account of your adversaries in order to silence the enemy and the avenger. So we see his glory and his power. When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him? A son of man, that you look after him? You made him a little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands. You put everything under his feet, all the sheep and oxen, as well as the animals in the wild, the birds of the sky and the fish of the ocean that pass through the currents of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth? Did you catch verse five? In the midst of extolling God's glory, how magnificent is his name, we're told that this awesome God crowned mankind with glory and honor.

Jocelyn: It reminds me so much of Genesis one. Like, so it's talking about the mandate. You put everything under his feet and then gave humans responsibilities. And part of it was to bear his image, which is the sharing of his glory.

Janet: Isn't that amazing?

Jocelyn: That's so cool.

Janet: I know. I know. Tilly talks about it this way. She says this glory is a borrowed glory. A reflected glory. The glory of the moon rather than the glory of the sun. But it is a real glory nonetheless. One glory is borrowed from the other. And was made to whisper things about the other.

Jocelyn: That's so that's a cool way to think of that.

Janet: I know. Every person, even an enemy of God gets to wear some kind of borrowed glory because even the enemies of God are made in his image.

Jocelyn: That's mind blowing. Wow.

Janet: It is. What a privilege, an undeserved honor. Before the fall, I'm sure Adam and Eve reflected his glory well.

Jocelyn: Yeah. It would've been cool to see.

Janet: Oh yeah.

Jocelyn: What does that look like?

Janet: I can't even imagine.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But since the fall. We've twisted it to something we're entitled to. We deserve it and we need it. And suddenly, I don't think it's about reflecting. No mankind lost part of our reflective glory when we sinned. And in its place, at least in part, we added envy of how others get to reflect God's glory. Because it's just not about God at that point. Now it's about us.

Jocelyn: It's about like, we're like glory steelers.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like we wanna snatch it from everybody else.

Janet: Instead of realizing

Jocelyn: it's all reflected of from God

Janet: back to God.

Jocelyn: That's amazing.

Janet: Yeah. Tilly says this, without access to the source of the real glory, we go nuts over any little thing that reminds us of it. The personal glories each person's been gifted with: their beauties, their personalities, their creations, their physical talents, their money, their ability to love others. We watch and compare and adore and attack these glories wherever we find them.

Jocelyn: That is very profound.

Janet: I hate how much I can relate to it.

Jocelyn: That is amazing. That's amazing.

Janet: So I think this already shows us not only the ugliness of it, but where it comes from. And that's great. 'cause that begins to give us hints already. That's how we're gonna overcome it.

Jocelyn: That's what I was just thinking. Like even understanding that much is telling me now how to fight it.

Janet: Right, right. Somehow we gotta get back to the source.

Jocelyn: It's not just like I have this random problem that I don't know what to do with. It's connected to something that I understand.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And I can go with that. I can run with that.

Janet: Yep. So let me mention just quickly, several of the borrowed glories that she writes about.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: Just so we get a broader view of what are we talking about here. So she has different chapters where she talks about different glories, really different things that we envy, but

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: Recognizing that they're all just parts of the glory of God.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: She calls the first one borrowed dust: envy of the body.

Jocelyn: That's funny.

Janet: I love that. It's so picturesque.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: We're envying dust. But boy, do we.

Jocelyn: Oh, I mean, people's whole entire lives are wrapped up in that.

Janet: Yes, we can envy somebody else's body type, their weight, their beauty, their physical stamina, their strength, whatever it is. Another one. Charm and influence. We can envy those who draw others to them. I hate that. They're comfortable talking to anybody. Everybody loves them. Maybe those who are funny. Maybe people who know how to make someone comfortable. Those who are easy to talk to and they build rapport easily. We can envy that. We envy intelligence. Those who are smarter than we are. In our Christian circles, that might be the best theologian who garners a following. Financial success. We can envy all the freedom and options that lots of money affords. Oh, what I could do if I only had whatever. It's not fair that I have to work so hard and they get to go from country to country and just enjoy all their perfect kitchens everywhere they go.

Jocelyn: They probably have perfect ones everywhere.

Janet: Creative genius. Boy, this one really hit me and I don't think of myself as creative, but I do get the privilege to teach. I wish I could sing like that or play like that or write like that or teach like that, and comparing those things. Or we envy relationships, family and friends. I wish I had a family that was like so and so. I wish I had more friends. I wish I was on the inside of whatever group it is and realizing I'm not. And I think all of these are not bad things.

Jocelyn: Right? But boy is it bad if I can see problems in each area in my, oh my goodness, this is a long list.

Janet: Boy. But when we pursue them,

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: It leads to a lot of envy.

Jocelyn: When we make it the goal.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Yeah. You can see why envy naturally grows out of that.

Janet: Yeah. And they're all really just pieces of the glory of God. But I want them, I want those pieces of the glory of God for the glory of me. So in many ways then it seems envy forgets that whatever borrowed glory God has given to us is intended for his glory. And again, we can begin to see the beginning of the cure.

Jocelyn: And it's so interesting like God asked us to represent him so that he would be glorified.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: So that attention would be paid to him. And it's like when we have the, when we think we're gonna get these things, the glory will just land on us.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: It's not to get people's eyes looking at God, the one true majestic king.

Janet: Yeah. And so already, I know we're not at the cure yet, but my mind starts going, what would it look like if all I wanted to do was rejoice in all the different ways that people get to bring glory to God?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And this is the way God said was best for me to do it. And then he has the way that it's best for you to do it. And when I watch you do it, God just gets more glory and our team wins. Like,

Jocelyn: that's so cool.

Janet: Yay. But that's not where we live. But when we understand more about what it really is, the more, it really just seems natural.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: And it's almost impossible to change. How am I supposed to stop wanting what somebody else has that I think is good?

Jocelyn: Especially something that's so innate to being a human. Like you think about personality stuff like, well, she's just very winsome, you know?

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Like it seems like, how could this be conquerable? It's just innate to who we are.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: To have differences that set us apart like this?

Janet: And how do I get to where I don't envy the fact that you have gifts I don't have.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: How can I get there? So, one thing I would encourage people to do is go back to our episode on changing what you treasure. Because you're gonna learn in that episode that the reason that we desire.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And in this case, envy. It's because we're already deceived and doubting.

Jocelyn: Right. We just believe that when we get that thing we want, we're gonna be happy.

Janet: Yes. We believe there's a better way other than God's.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: 'cause God determined this is the different glories.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So we doubt his goodness. After all. If he's really sovereign and good, why would he deprive me of this relationship or this ability, or this position that I know would bring me joy? And even in saying that, I hope you already hear the deception.

Jocelyn: Absolutely.

Janet: I believe something other than God himself is gonna give me joy. It's the thing. The glory that he allows me to have for His glory, I think that's my joy.

Jocelyn: The glory for His glory. That's so funny.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: It's making me understand in new ways about the gender struggle. Because one gender is looking at another gender and saying, I want those qualities and I'm gonna create them. I'm not satisfied to reflect God the way that he's ordained for me to reflect him. I'm gonna turn myself into something that I prefer more. I never thought I would think about sexuality in this conversation.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: But it is based in envy in being something that I'm not.

Janet: I believe that if I were this other gender,

Jocelyn: right

Janet: and I had the glory that they have,

Jocelyn: yes.

Janet: The borrowed glory,

Jocelyn: yes.

Janet: that's what would bring me joy.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: Yes, absolutely. That's really interesting. But I completely see that. So what do we do about it?

Jocelyn: What do we do about it? I feel like I'm a step in the right direction, but gimme more.

Janet: Well, I have to understand why I want that person, that thing, that ability, and what I think it's gonna do for me. So basically, I believe it will satisfy my soul.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: For instance, if I envy someone with a more popular podcast, what's happening? I want what they have, whether that's listeners or reach. And with envy, frequently, I have to say, it also means I kind of want them to fail. I want them to blow it. Why might I want that? Well, maybe that means that what I have to say is meaningful. If then all the people come to me now. That I am liked and valued, that I am important. And on and on. And ultimately, whatever that list is, I believe finally my soul will be satisfied.

Jocelyn: It reminds me of Ali early on, and then I'll be happy.

Janet: I always think about that too. Yes. So, and, but once I've identified that. First of all, I'll go, well that's gross.

Jocelyn: Yeah. That's disgusting.

Janet: But there you have it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And then I need to say, okay, well what I just identified, is that true?

Jocelyn: Yeah. Clearly not. You'll never be satisfied when you get what you think you want.

Janet: That's right. That's right. So what is true? Well, in general, we know this. God will satisfy me.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yes. But in counseling, I really try to encourage others to think specifically about the gospel and aspects of the gospel that relate to that. So instead of just saying, here's what's better: God. Yes. Tell me more. So let's think about that. If what I'm after, I need to be popular and liked so that that makes me important. And what I say is meaningful. That gives me purpose and that's gonna do it for me. Let me contrast my envy with how Jesus lived. Everything he had to say was meaningful.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: He had the complete right to be valued and seen as important. But, He chose a life that included slander and mocking. He was mocked on the cross, like he's an imposter. Yeah. If you're really, God, why don't you, whatever, come on down. Why? Why did he stay there? Because he loved his father and he loved me. So when I think about that aspect of the gospel and realize I'm sinning and clamoring for importance, and to be seen and valued, and respected and adored. While Jesus willingly gave up all of that for me.

Jocelyn: Wow.

Janet: Wow. And then he gave me parts of his glory so I could represent him, so I could show people who he is. So it's beginning at least to move my focus from comparing my borrowed glories to somebody else's, and being grateful for any opportunity to make much of him in whatever way he equips me.

Jocelyn: It just like elicits the opposite of grumbling. So, you know, like envy would lead to complaining and grumbling.

Janet: Oh for sure.

Jocelyn: And if your view is this, like you would see nothing but things to be thankful for all of the time.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Your heart would be overflowing with gratefulness.

Janet: I love that. So when we say meditate on the truth of the gospel, I think it's really important to specifically think of aspects of the gospel that connect to where I'm envying.

Jocelyn: Yes. Yeah.

Janet: And let those beautiful truths motivate you at least, I wanna do the work to kill it.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: I want to kill envy every time it appears. Instead of, it's just a bummer. I wish it wasn't there.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: If it's that opposite of what Jesus did, I wanna kill it.

Jocelyn: I think sometimes envy seems a little bit like gossip. We know it's not a good thing, but we we put up with it. You know?

Janet: Yes.Yes. And we kind of like it.

Jocelyn: Instead of

Janet: we don't hate it.

Jocelyn: You're right. Instead of saying like, I literally wanna murder it. Jesus has the glory. He deserves the glory. And even he did not grasp onto it the way that my heart is grasping onto it.

Janet: A glory that's not even mine.

Jocelyn: And a glory that's not even-- like it's somebody else's

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Glory, that is not even a full representation of God. It's a half way representation.

Janet: It's a shadow.

Jocelyn: It's a whisper. Yeah.

Janet: Yeah. So how do we start now? Hopefully, people who are listening or at least saying, yes, I hate it, or I want to hate it.

Jocelyn: I wanna hate it. Yeah.

Janet: Let's at least start there. Well, practical steps. I was really struck by this comment in Dillehay's book. She said, envy and diligence have a hard time coexisting.

Jocelyn: I would've never thought of those two things together in the same sentence.

Janet: I know. I know.

Jocelyn: But when you said previously that envy is what was the word you said? Envy is lazy.

Janet: Unproductive.

Jocelyn: Unproductive. If envy is unproductive and you're just sitting there stewing, well then diligence would be the opposite.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: That makes so much sense.

Janet: Yep. And I realize the goal isn't well then go work hard, get whatever else they have. And there are certainly things that are completely unattainable for us. If I am envious of someone because they handle money better, I should learn to handle money better just 'cause I ought to. But if I'm envious of someone because they're an Olympic swimmer, I'm never going to be an Olympic swimmer. But , this was really interesting because I believe most of us believe the opposite. And I think, boy, Satan's got us fooled with this one. Listen to this. As far as being diligent, even if I can't be an Olympic boxer, there are things I could attain. And listen to what she says about diligence, that is the part of the rankling nature of envy. For many of us, part of the burn is that we know what the other person has is not really unattainable for us. They are well liked because they're kind to other people. We could do that. They're succeeding at work because they've put in a hundred percent effort. We could, if we wanted to. Their home is neat and clean because they make it a priority to keep it that way.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: It could be our priority too. So envy's lazy.

Jocelyn: Yeah. It is almost like magical thinking. I just wish that could be magically given to me.

Janet: Yes. Without working at it.

Jocelyn: Without all the work. Yeah.

Janet: Yes. Yes. So think about that. The difference between seeing someone accomplish a goal and being motivated by it or being envious. One response is, wow. Seeing that Jocelyn worked hard and got through the ACBC certification and was able to do that, that's so encouraging. I could probably do that. That encourages me that, you know, maybe I could do it.

Jocelyn: If she can, anyone can.

Janet: I wanna work toward accomplishing a goal.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Envy says, I can't believe Jocelyn got that. I wish I had that accomplishment, while I do nothing.

Jocelyn: Just sit there and

Janet: try to get it.

Jocelyn: Want it.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Interesting.

Janet: One's productive. One is destructive. So one way to fight envy is by working hard with the abilities God has given us. She says this: in a real sense, even if you can never attain another person's level of ability, knowing that you put your absolute best work in is a balm for envy that there are no substitutes for. That I believe Satan says just the opposite. If you wanna protect yourself from feeling like a failure, don't try.

Jocelyn: Oh, true.

Janet: What she's saying is, even if you can never get it, the fact that you worked hard and did your best will give you a calmness in your soul.

Jocelyn: That's interesting.

Janet: And I believe that's true. Proverbs 22:29. Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before obscure men. She says this about that: this proverb communicates the serene confidence of the hard worker.

Jocelyn: That's really cool.

Janet: Isn't that neat?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Doesn't serene confidence sound so much better than destructive envy?

Jocelyn: Yes. And also the like the opposite of that CS Lewis quote from screw tape letter, like, He's not telling himself I'm just as good.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: He's just doing his thing and being calm in it without

Janet: Because he's confident.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: He has a clear conscience.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: I have worked really hard, and I am doing

Jocelyn: my personal best

Janet: with excellence my best.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Before the Lord.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And there is a confidence to that, even if your best is more productive than my best.

Jocelyn: Or looks different. Yeah.

Janet: Yeah. So I love that. Satan, his counterfeit here, I think is so strong, and I actually lived there for many years. I was very envious of those who were popular in school, the people that everybody liked, and I was enslaved to fear. I didn't talk to people. I would sit in a corner and hope people would talk to me. Is there any reason I was not the most popular kid in school? Fear of failure was crippling to me. And while I don't know if Satan himself took much interest in me, here was Satanic thinking. If I don't try, I can't fail. The way to protect myself from being destroyed by failure is just don't try.

Jocelyn: That is such a twisted way of thinking. Yeah.

Janet: Yeah. That will protect me from pain. Well, that meant I just stayed sinfully shy. And hoped people would be drawn to me anyway. I longed to be popular while I sat in the back. Selfish? Absolutely. And the opposite of diligence. And I envied a lot. So God says, work hard, be diligent with whatever he is given me, and then enjoy peace in my soul.

Jocelyn: That's neat.

Janet: Satan says, avoid failure with laziness. And what it led to was a constant low level guilt and increased loneliness. And when I think about those two people, God and Satan, one died to give me life and the other wants to destroy my life. And one of his tools, Is envy.

Jocelyn: Which is interesting because that was his problem.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Satan was envious of God

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And wanted to raise his throne above the most high. So it's interesting that he wants us to use the tool that's been so effective for him.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: You know, like it's, it was his mo

Janet: But if you think about Envy, if he can't have it, we shouldn't either.

Jocelyn: It's true. It fits his agenda.

Janet: So there you go. So who am I gonna listen to? Am I gonna listen to, well, I know, but you know? I just think, which one am I gonna listen to?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Dillehay says it this way. Throw your whole mind and body into loving God through your work. Vocational work, housework, relational work, creative work, hospitality, physical exercise, spiritual exercise, and ministry. Keeping your hands busy with honest labor is a great way to drown out the idle, wasteful sin of envy.

Jocelyn: That is so interesting. I just got done reading a book about work that is just blowing my mind. And it from out

Janet: future episode. Future episode.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Right outta the gates. It said , the first thing that you read about God in the Bible is that he worked and he loved it. And so think about how when we do work God's way, it is reflecting His glory. So even one of the ways that we reflect him well, is in the way that we do our work. And that work is one of the best ways to fight against envy.

Janet: Drown that out. That's awesome.

Jocelyn: Yeah. That's really cool.

Janet: So, loving God through your work. Yeah. No surprise that one of the antidotes to envy we've already said is diligence, but one of them is love.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Love for God. That leads to a love for those he created in his image. Especially when I'm thinking of other believers. We say they're my brothers and sisters in Christ, but do we realize that means we are actually family?

Jocelyn: Literally siblings.

Janet: That we have the same father?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: A father whose plan included sacrificing his son because it's what my soul needed. That father who is worthy of all my love and praise, these are his other children. How can I not love them too? When I realize that we're all on the same team with the same purpose to show the values of our father, then it kind of doesn't even make sense. Why would I envy their abilities?

Jocelyn: You don't even need them.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I just get to enjoy however they're doing it. Maybe I'm not the fastest on this team of representing the father, but I'm moving the ball forward. And they're moving it forward even faster. Okay. And then we all win, because Jesus is glorified. I love that focus and I see it in the book of Ephesians.

Jocelyn: Especially about unity. 'cause if you're thinking Jesus, Jesus was very concerned about his church being united, and if we had unity on our mind, we would be way less likely to think, I want what they have because we're supposed to all be on the same team.

Janet: Yes. Yes. Paul spends the first three chapters of Ephesians telling that church of all the ways that God loves and caress for them as a group. It was not written to an individual. It was written to a group to understand that and how it brought them together. And then he ends chapter three, praying for them to comprehend the length, width, height, and depth of God's love. And then chapter four is their response. And it says this, therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord urge you to walk worthy of the calling you've received with all humility and gentleness, with patience bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. I think that's pretty remarkable. After hearing chapters one to three, I hope they're all saying, what can we do? How do we thank you for this? Like, what can we do? What do you want? And his answer is, love one another. And we can't even do that. And what will bring him Glory? Not our individual gifts and abilities and glories, but our unity. We're to make every effort to keep unity. That mindset does not coexist well with envy.

Jocelyn: That is so helpful for thinking about how to kill envy. That along with the whole glory part. Like those two things, glory and unity. Wow. That just goes a long way to helping me see it as very distasteful.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And want, want it out.

Janet: Another way that we fight envy is in Philippians 2:3 and 4. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit. But in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves.

Jocelyn: You can't really do that and envy.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Like, it's impossible.

Janet: So the third one is humility. Selfish ambition and conceit: hotbeds for envy. Choose humility. This is also in Ephesians four, and I read that in verses one to three because humility is necessary for unity.

Jocelyn: Yeah, definitely.

Janet: They all go together. Love and humility lead to unity. Which leads to a freedom to enjoy what others have. Rejoice with them and work hard at advancing the ball with whatever I have.

Jocelyn: And not spin your wheels and waste energy, wanting all that stuff for yourself.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: You just get to enjoy them enjoying what God made them good at.

Janet: Yes. Another step to fight envy, being honest. It's gonna sound interesting, but the gospel, remembering that the God who knows me totally, made a way for me to be with him forever. That's what frees me to be honest about that envy that I like to hide even from myself. If I'm not honest, I can't repent.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: I have to be honest. I mentioned earlier that envious worship indicates that we're already deceived and doubting.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Well, the first person we frequently deceive is ourselves.

Jocelyn: True.

Janet: The gospel gives me the courage to be honest. Dillehay's book is uncomfortably honest at points, and I'm so thankful for her willingness to do that. We too can be honest with ourselves and run to our savior. Then we get to be diligent with what we've been given by God. We get to prioritize love and humility that results in greater unity among God's children. Then we're living out our design in greater freedom and joy.

Jocelyn: It's so funny. So much of the time we don't ask God for help because we don't do the first step, which is acknowledging what's actually going on.

Janet: We're not honest.

Jocelyn: If we don't acknowledge what's actually going on, we don't need God's help.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And so it's like we get stuck spinning our wheels and the first step is just say what's actually happening.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: God has solutions for it.

Janet: And it's the gospel frees me to do that.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: Allows me to do that.

Jocelyn: 'Cause I don't do have to cover, I don't have to pretty myself up.

Janet: Yep. And the other focus that I think is important if we're gonna fight envy, we've got to be living vertically. I've got to have an eternal focus. When I'm investing in the next life, all that I've just said makes sense.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Listen to this quote from CS Lewis's Weight of Glory. I can imagine someone saying that he dislikes my idea of heaven as a place where we're patted on the back, but proud misunderstanding is behind that dislike. In the end, that face, which is the delight or terror of the universe, must be turned upon each of us, either with one expression or with the other. Either conferring glory inexpressible, or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised. I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God himself it is not. How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of him is of no importance except insofar as it is related to how he thinks of us. It is written that we shall stand before him, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God, to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness, to be loved by God, not merely pitied. But delighted in as an artist, delights in his work or a father in a son. It seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory, which our thoughts can hardly sustain, but so it is.

Jocelyn: Wow.

Janet: Isn't that amazing?

Jocelyn: It's really profound.

Janet: If I'm thinking about that. Wow. Near the end of her book, Dillehay says this, perfected men do not envy, they worship. Isn't that great?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: When I read Revelation four and five and picture worshiping God before his throne, ah, there's no room for envy there. It's all about him and he loves us. Let that motivate us to not settle for envy, when we can worship.

Jocelyn: That's amazing. It's so amazing, and I think I wanna be refreshed on what the actual definition of glory was. Let's look at that again. What was the actual definition of glory?

Janet: Glory is the shining joy, beauty, intelligence, power, and goodness of God himself. That's her sum. I realize there's many ways that that could be said.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: It's a bigger word than I'm sure we can actually define.

Jocelyn: It's such a big concept and you know, we use the word a lot and I don't think that often we take very much time or energy to really try to understand it.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Like how do we understand the bright shining Shekinah glory of God? So it seems so huge to understand period. But to think about the fact that he crowned us.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: With his glory and honor, he's given us a piece of his glory. And he wants us to use that gift to draw attention to him.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: To draw people's eyes to him. And instead what we find that we're doing is like looking at the reflected glory of God that we see in another person and just wanting to hoard it all for ourself.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: So it's helpful to think we are crowned with glory and honor and it's supposed to draw people's attention back to God.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And we could do that. We could work to not want what other people are reflecting of God. Just hoard it for ourselves.

Janet: Yes. Yes.

Jocelyn: What a great conversation. I'm so glad we talked about this. And I would've never, ever thought that it's focusing more on the glory of God, living more eternally minded, being honest, having humility is the solution to me looking at Instagram and wanting people's perfect kitchens. It seems very disconnected.

Janet: Right. And yet at the root it is.

Jocelyn: Yeah, not to trivialize this, but I was thinking like, why do I love beautiful cabinets? Because they're perfect. Like cabinet makers use perfect angles and beautiful wood carved, you know, wood edges and it reflects a measure of perfection.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: That reminds me of God. And then I just have to be like, okay, you don't need to want it for yourself.

Janet: But I can enjoy looking it.

Jocelyn: I can enjoy it.

Janet: I get to enjoy all those pictures on Instagram.

Jocelyn: And to draw attention to the God who makes that kind of perfect beauty possible.

Janet: Who loves beauty and perfection. Yeah, absolutely.

Jocelyn: What a great chat.

Janet: Well, thanks for chatting with us.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.