Jealousy – There are films made about it, books written about it, songs sung about it.
And the Bible is definitely no stranger to it.
A quick google search for a definition describes it generally as the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear or concern over a relative lack of possession or safety.
If you feel like you have escaped this deadly demon in your life, I would imagine you are most likely misled.
For me this particular naughty nasty jumped on the joy ride of my life very early on.
I grew up with my foster family in my beautiful big home in the country. I attended a small country school and we were part of a close knit church community. We weren’t by any means wealthy, but we had everything we needed. We had nice clothes, food on the table, bikes, the latest gadgets which back then was a Sony Walkman. My Dad worked his socks off to ensure we always had annual summer holidays and day trips out with the family to build beautiful memories into our lives. And, boy oh boy, did he do a good job!
I can easily recall summer time, car and caravan packed up for our trips to Devon and France. I can remember the smell of the ferry, the songs played in the car, the fold up maps that Mum would have spread all over her lap as she called instructions to Dad, just in time for us to miss the right turn. I remember the stops at the services and the bag of goodies mum kept at her feet to hand us when our moaning got too much. I remember the Walkmans and the quiz books, the struggle with the caravan awning, Mum and Dad snoring in unison, hot sticky mornings, fresh baked croissants, raw radishes, my Dad’s awful attempts to speak French, how Mum would order raw bacon instead of cider, the Monastery at le Mont Saint Michel, the Carnival at Saint Jon de Mont and the graves in Normandy.
My parents gave me more than enough reasons to have a full, happy childhood. I got what any of the others got, and by that I mean their biological kids (my siblings). To all intents and purposes there was no reason for me ever to feel any different, or lack, besides a few minor things that reminded me like doctors’ check ups and social worker visits. The odd teacher that would call the wrong name at roll. People would ask where the blonde came in a ginger family. (lol kinda wish my Dad had answered, we stole her, just to see the reaction). There was no reason for me to feel different, I never had less and yet! Captain Comparison chanted in my head that I had less. Somehow because I didn’t share DNA, I don’t have my real family, like the other kids. So right back at the beginning, jealousy set up camp in my heart and it had no intention of going anywhere.
See, I don’t think that we even realise or recognise such an ugly fruit festering in our heart.
It can sneak into our hearts and we can be completely unaware. It will take root and grow quite strong, and we can be totally oblivious. People could point it out and we can still deny it. It loves to get tangled and intertwined with its friends bitterness, anger and shame.
So then how do you recognise it and what can we do about it?
The Bible tells us in Mark that jealousy is a sin. It also tells us sin comes from our heart, and that it not only defiles us but others too. Ain’t it crazy the impact our state of heart can cause on others. Jealousy can cause division, end relationships, wreck families, tear churches apart. No wonder it’s listed in the Bible in amongst other awful sins like murder and adultery.
“He added, “Words and deeds pollute a person, not food. Evil originates from inside a person. Coming out of a human heart are evil schemes, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, treachery, debauchery, jealousy, slander, arrogance, and recklessness.”
Mark 7:20-22 TPT
Jealousy is hard to recognise and even harder to control. If we try to address it and deal with it on our own strength, I think we can just go on ahead and add defeat to jealousy’s long list of friends.
The bottom line is, jealousy is not an issue we can or should even try to address alone. Jealousy loves to feed his friend shame and they love to go down, deep and dirty together. The good news is, there is a lot of freedom to be found in the confession alone. No, you don’t need to update your social media feed. How are you feeling today? Oh I’m feeling jealous today, what about you? You can confide in your closest friend, your church leader, teacher, counsellor, and of course, God himself, in prayer.
Recognise – If you don’t recognise jealousy, use a simple prayer inspired by King David, here in Psalm 139, asking God to search your heart and show you the parts of your life that don’t line up with his plan for your life and help you fix it.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NLT
Repent– Again this doesn’t have to involve any crazy ritual, or candle lighting, or ripping off your clothes and rolling in the mud. It’s just a simple sorry, I’m sorry that I have allowed this sin to take root in my heart. Lord, help me change and get rid of it.
Replace – Jerry Bridges says this, “the cure for the sin of envy and jealousy is to find our contentment in God.” The next step is to simply replace it with the truth that in God you have everything you need.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”
Psalms 23:1 NLT
He is your provision, your purpose, your comfort, your stength, your rock, your sword and your sheild.
Recongise, repent and replace – it’s good, write it down!
Today would you join me in jilting jealousy? Together, can we leave it at the altar? Jesus bled and died for us so that we can leave our sin there, so we can go in freedom to live our very best life with him as the King of our hearts?