The Demonic Wisdom of Envy 


But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:14-18) 


St John of Kronstadt gives us some thoughts on the sin of envy: 

“It is madness for a Christian to be envious. In Christ we have all received infinitely great blessings; are all made godly; are all made inheritors of the unspeakable and eternal blessings of the kingdom of heaven. And we are also promised a sufficiency of earthly blessings, upon the condition of seeking the righteousness of God and the Kingdom of God. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 5:33). We are commended to be contented with what we have, and not be covetous. “Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have.” And it is added, “For He” (the Lord) hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Heb 13:5). Is it not, therefore, madness, after this, to envy your neighbor anything – for instance, his honors, his wealth, his luxurious table, beautiful clothing, his fine house, etc.?


Is not all this mere dross in comparison to that which has been given us in the image and likeness of God, according to which we were created, in our redemption by the Son of God from our sins, from the curse and from death, in the bestowal upon us again of the blessing of our Heavenly Father, and in the eternal heavenly joys united with it? Therefore let us strive to acquire mutual love, goodwill, and contentedness with what we have; friendship, hospitality, love for the poor, for the stranger, “and to attain to the summit of virtues,” humility, meekness, gentleness, and holiness. Let us respect the image of God in each other, the members of Christ, our God, His Body, God’s sons by adoption, the citizens of the Kingdom of heaven, the dwellers with, and companions of, the angels in praising God. “That they may be one” (John 17:22), as our God, worshipped in the Holy Trinity, is Himself one, and has created our hearts “as one” for unity—that is, simple, single.”   (MY LIFE IN CHRIST, p 174)


Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)