If Pride and Fear had babies, one of them would be named Jealousy. Jealousy clothes itself in Designer Anger. It bathes in the most expensive Bitterness that emotions can buy. It disguises itself with false humility. Its true intentions are like fragrance that one puts on everyday- can’t smell it, but others sure can. Jealousy takes root in the heart and then consumes it in the same way that ivy consumes the frame of a house. It is known to wear out its welcome, and eviction by force is the only way to get rid of it. I know this seems like a clever little depiction of jealousy, but this is all real.
No one in the world wants to admit that they struggle with jealousy, especially us Christians. I will see a friend with a beautiful purse or jewelry, and lightly toss that word around. Exclaiming, “Girl, that bag is gorgeous…you know I’m jealous, right?” while other stand around and agree. Now I may not be serious about being jealous. The problem is that I’m playing with matches in the middle of a forest, and acting as though it’s no big deal. Jealousy is so serious that it can destroy relationships, as well as the individual that is experiencing it. Thank Jesus we are not doomed. The Bible provides truth to apply to every area of our lives, jealousy included.
One of the greatest depictions of jealousy unfolds in 1 Samuel 18:6-9. In this verse, we see that David had completed his first great victory. With smooth stones and a sling, he killed the giant Philistine. I imagine that David is feeling extra good about himself. He starts walking through the villages of Israel, at the side of King Saul. Then something happens that changes the nature of their relationship forever:
“As they returned home, after David had killed the Philistine, the women poured out of all the villages of Israel singing and dancing, welcoming King Saul with tambourines, festive songs, and lutes. In playful frolic the women sang,
Saul kills by the thousand,
David by the ten thousand!
This made Saul angry—very angry. He took it as a personal insult. He said, “They credit David with ‘ten thousands’ and me with only ‘thousands.’ Before you know it they’ll be giving him the kingdom!” From that moment on, Saul kept his eye on David” (Message Bible)
The Bible doesn’t say that David was boasting in his victory. After all, it was nothing different than he had done before. The Bible tells us that he killed both a lion and a bear while tending his father’s flock. So we know that Saul’s jealousy toward him started after the song that was sang by the village women. Then verse nine says ‘from that moment on,’ meaning he never trusted David again.
This is why jealousy is a flat out sin:
1. It involves the comparison of one person (created thing) to another person (created thing)
Vs. 8 – “They credit David with ‘ten thousands’ and me with only ‘thousands.’”
We know that we were made into the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and the only comparison that we have is to Christ.
“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”- Galatians 5:25–26 (Message Bible)
2. It is pride and idolatry.
Vs. 8 – This made Saul angry—very angry. He took it as a personal insult.
Most people think of idolatry as the literal setting up of an image or statue and worshiping it. However, it is ANYTHING that we give more attention and effort to, other than God. In regards to the subject matter, the idol becomes the individual suffering from jealousy. We desire to be praised by men for our good deeds, and higher that any other person.
“You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.” Ephesians 5:5 (Message Bible)
“You shall have no other gods before Me.”- Exodus 20:3 (NASB)
“Everyone who has pride in his heart is disgusting to the Lord: he will certainly not go free from punishment.” – Proverbs 16:5 (Basic English Bible)
What I find most interesting is that jealousy could very well start as pure admiration, as we see with Saul. The thing that changed admiration into jealousy is the praises of other people. Saul might have never changed his perspective of David had he not heard other people make the comparison between the two. You see, the people used to praise Saul that way too. Now they have lessened his praise and focused on David. Saul began to feel threatened. His position was at stake, but instead of seeing this young man as an asset to his kingdom he let jealousy take root in his heart. From that day forward, Saul spent his time trying to destroy David.
So how do we recover from this thing called jealousy? The enemy would deceive us to think that the antidote is simple in theory or concept, but hard to put into practice. Not so! This is how you evict jealousy from your life:
1. Acknowledge it and repent:
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;”- Acts 3:19 (NASB)
2. Resist the very thought of it:
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”- James 4:7 (NASB)
Resist means to: withstand, strive against, or oppose: to resist infection; to resist temptation (according to dictionary.com). The Bible says in Hebrew 12:4, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (International Standard)
3. Remember that God has an individualistic and great plan for you life.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfareand not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”- Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” – Galatians 6:4,5 (Message Bible)
5. Confess it to someone that you can trust and that will really pray for you.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” –James 5:16
People underestimate the power of confession. The enemy would have us to believe that it is shameful, but there is a release and healing that takes place. Confessing to someone that you can trust is the essential phrase here. Pray about who you should confide in.
I leave you with Galatians 5:16-26 (NIV) and a prayer:
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateveryou want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Father in Heaven,
We acknowledge you as our Lord and Savior. We are aware that You have designed each one of us in Your Image. Jesus, we also know that you search the hearts of man. You know every wicked way that is in us, yet You love us. You love us so much that you confront us with the very sin that separates us from You. So this day, we set before You the sin of jealousy that we have allowed to take root in our hearts. It has turned us numb to your Spirit. We ask You to forgive us, wash us, and make us whole again. Forgive us for idolatry; forgive us for our pride, which keeps us in that state- knowing that it is an abomination to you.
Father, your Word says that there is healing in our confessions. So confess of it now, and we cast our cares upon You. We cast our cares for people that we bear jealousy against. Help us not to tear them down, but rejoice in the person that you have destined them to be. Also, acknowledging the great work that You are doing in us!
We know that you are a God of new things, and that You are making us anew even now. We thank you for the restoration, and healing in advance. May we bring glory to Your name in all that we say and do.
In Jesus name we pray.