Summary: Loving others is to put them first or before yourself.



It never ceases to amaze me the popularity of tabloid magazines, talk

shows, gossip columnists and celebrity magazines. It seems to me that our

society is obsessed with needing to know dirt on people who are famous.

Time after time, our public flocks to book stores to buy the latest "tell

all" book. Why do we do that? Why do we enjoy reading that kind of stuff?

What is it in human nature that makes us feel better when we can bring

other people down with a bit of gossip? The answer is obvious. The answer

is the word "envy." I guarantee you, if you make your mark in the world,

there will be someone who will be trying to erase that mark with a scandal.

We began a series three weeks ago on Chapter 13 of I Corinthians. This

chapter is chocked full of advice on how to build strong relationships. So

far, we have preached on Following the Way of Love, How to Develop

Patience, and Looking for the Bxest in Others. As we once again look at

verse four, we find it defining what love is. It says, "Love does not envy

. . . "

What is envy? Envy is different from jealousy. Jealousy says, "I want what

you have." Envy says, "I not only want what you have, but I also want you

to lose it." Envy can show up in any kind of relationship. Can envy show up

in a family? Sure it can. The Bible is full of sibling rivalries: Cain and

Abel, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers. There were at least two sets

of brothers in the disciple band. They argued over who would be number one.

Can envy show up on the job? Absolutely. Salesmen can envy other salesmen.

Doctors can envy other doctors. Preachers can envy the pastor down the


Can there be envy at school? Of course. This past year, students spent a

lot of their energy comparing clothes, cars, boy friends, grades, athletic


Can you have envy among friends? Sure you can. You may envy the fact that

they have a nice house or car. You may envy the fact that it seems they do

not have problems with their kids. You may envy the ease with which they

succeed. It can happen.

We are all touched by envy. The whole advertising industry is based on

creating envy among friends. We will hock our future to keep up with the

Joneses. It can get to be a vicious cycle.

I want us to look first at how envy messes up our lives.


1. It starts fights and quarrels

Read with me James 4:1, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t

they come from our desires that battle within you?" James tells us that

conflict comes from our inner desires. Do you remember playing King of the

Hill? There was only room for one man at the top. Adults still play that

game. We are more subtle about it; but, we also do it more lethally. We

claim to be King of the Hill by the things we buy, the clothes we wear and

the neighborhood we live in, even by the color of our credit card.

Envy is one of the major conflicts of marriage. "You pay more attention to

your job than you do to me." "You make more money than I do." "You get to

go play golf." "Why is it always your job that determines where we live?"

Envy causes fights and quarrels.

2. It causes malice

Read with me Titus 3:3, "At one time . . . we lived with malice and envy,

being hated and hating one another." Envy is the shortest road to problems.

It always causes problems. We resent other people because we are envious.

We envy their achievement. "I should have gotten that promotion."

We envy other people’s beauty. "I don’t understand why God made other

people look like they walked out of GQ Magazine and made me like this."

We can even envy other people’s spirituality. "He and God must be like

that." "I don’t understand why God seems to bless him and I can’t seem to

get God’s attention." That is envy.

In James 3:16, "For where you find envy . . . there you find disorder and

every evil practice." Circle the word "every." It is saying that if you are

green with envy, you are ripe for the devil to use. Envy can lead to all

kinds of other sins. Joseph’s brothers were envious of him and they sold

him into slavery. Saul was jealous of David and tried to kill him. We were

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