The Evil of Envy – Gospel in Life

The Evil of Envy

Tim Keller |  November 7, 2004

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  • Worship
Proverbs 23:17-18; Psalm 73:1-3, 20-26
RS 178-09


The book of Proverbs is one of the best places to learn about the topic of wisdom. The book teaches us that to gain wisdom you must come to understand and redirect the deep currents of our hearts — things like anger and sexual desire. Today we’re going to zero in on envy. It is very important to see the reality of it and to understand its power. We’re going to look at three things in the passages: how to understand envy, why to deal with envy, and where to take your envy.

Proverbs 23:17–18; Psalm 73:1–3, 20–26

Feeling envious, a strong emotion, can lead us to wrong thoughts and actions. Psalm 73 shares a story of someone who almost lost their way because they were envious of bad people who seemed to be doing well. However, they found comfort and strength in God, realizing that God doesn’t value the false success of the wicked and stands by those who trust in Him. It’s important to understand envy, learn to deal with it, and discover the real path to happiness and satisfaction.

1. Understanding envy

Envy goes beyond just wanting what others have. It turns into feeling upset about others’ success or skills. It appears as sadness at someone else’s happiness and pleasure in their setbacks. This harmful emotion not only causes pain but also prevents us from appreciating the good things in others.

2. Why is it important to deal with envy?

Envy, a harmful emotion we often hide, can make us feel sorry for ourselves, become bitter, and constantly compare ourselves to others. This affects how we see ourselves and our relationships. By admitting our envious feelings, we can understand better where our sense of self comes from – God or something else. The cure for envy is in worship and experiencing God’s love personally. Knowing that Jesus died for us and promising a new heaven and earth can fulfill our deepest desires, defeating envy.



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