“For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.” – James 3:16
Has someone ever got exactly what you wanted?
I’ve experienced this many times. I remember one time, when I was just starting out in ministry, another guy was offered a staff position at our local church in Gainesville, Florida. Man, I was eaten up by envy! Even though I was still a college student, I quickly went into scarcity mode thinking that if this guy took a staff position, then I wouldn’t get one when I graduated. Of course, this was total foolishness, and I ended up being offered a pastoral apprenticeship by the senior pastor only a few months later.
What about you? What was your initial reaction the last time someone got exactly what you wanted? Was it positive? If we’re honest, many times our immediate response—our default setting—is not to jump up and down for the other person. Human nature almost has this knee-jerk reaction,
“THEM?!… WHAT ABOUT ME?!”
If we don’t check this attitude, we may even start thinking to ourselves, “You know, I never really liked that person anyways.”
How quickly that person with “our” stuff starts to become more and more offensive. “I mean, would you look at Mary over there, just chilling with all her sweet stuff… Who does Mary think she is, anyways?”
Go ahead and smile, you know it’s true.
Jealousy can make us do some weird stuff. It can twist up our attitudes real quick and have us, as my buddy says, “throwing shade” before we know it. When jealousy fully takes root in a human heart, it’s a very ugly thing. The Bible calls this situation “bitter envy”. And it can have serious repercussions. Proverbs warns,
“Wrath is cruel, and anger is an overwhelming flood, but who is able to stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)
When I see a person easily eaten up by envy, I just think to myself this person needs a lot of love.
I didn’t always think this way. When someone was uncomfortable with me, or slighted me, because of envy, I would quickly take it personal. I would retaliate. Other times, I’d internalize their negativity and assume there was something wrong with me. But now, I know the problem is with them, not with me. (This is NOT to say I am immune to criticism, but thank God, I certainly have thicker skin than I did twelve years ago!)
Here’s the truth: Jealousy can only take place in an insecure person.
Insecure people easily fall prey to jealousy because their souls are not secure in the affirmation of Christ. They’re not yet fully convinced how much God loves them. They see someone’s blessing, and get mad. They hear somebody else’s dream, and they scoff— or worse, they seek to pull it down.
Why? They obviously do not believe that God loves them enough—or is big enough—to bless them, too.
And sometimes, insecurity runs so deep in a person, they don’t even know it’s jealousy they’re feeling! These types of people are totally blind to their bad attitudes—or maybe they disguise their envy as “spiritual discernment” or “just telling it like it is”.
I know this from experience. When Jesus saved me, I was deeply insecure. If a person got what I wanted, I was instantly unhappy, and out throwing a pity-party for myself. Super successful people made me uncomfortable. People with confidence and big dreams bugged me. Thank God I’ve grown in grace.
But no matter how much we grow, ALL of us can still be tempted to be envious from time to time.
That’s why you must continually remind yourself, God is big enough to take care of you and them.
In the Gospels, Jesus took five pieces of bread and fed thousands. The Kingdom of God has no place for a scarcity mindset. He has more than enough to take care of you and anyone else He wants to bless.
Even more encouraging: this same God of unlimited resources loves you personally. And He has given you access to all things through His Son, Jesus! He has invited you to dine with Him as a son or daughter of Heaven.
Do you struggle with jealousy? Me, too… Let’s learn to trust God.
Your Heavenly Father wants to meet your needs more than you do! Allow His word to build up your faith in His love. And the next time jealousy tries to rear it’s ugly head, you’ll stop that “stinking thinking” in it’s tracks and give your “what about me?!” over to God, who cares about you immensely!
Father, thank You that You love me!
Thank You that You’ll take care of me.
When You bless others, I will rejoice!
By faith, I can get excited about other people’s success.
By faith, I know that what you do for others, you can also do for me.
Give me deeper revelation of Your care for me.
My hands shall be open to receive all the good things you have for me!