But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. (Genesis 37:4)
Jealousy kills. Jealousy caused Jacob’s sons to plot to kill their brother Joseph. Jealousy was behind Saul’s vicious pursuit of David. Jealousy spurred Cain to take Abel’s life. And jealousy even motivated the religious leaders of Jerusalem to insist that Jesus be crucified.
There is nothing good about jealousy. And there’s nothing sweet or innocent about it either. It’s not a harmless little sin with no consequences. Jealousy kills.
Jealousy kills careers, church fellowships, marriages, friendships, families, partnerships, reputations.
I’ve been jealous, and I bet you have, too. And even when I feel myself turning green with envy, I know it’s not good. But sometimes it’s hard to control our jealousies, right?
How can we keep from turning green with envy when someone else succeeds, someone else gets what we aimed for and worked so hard for, someone else is chosen while we are not, someone else is noticed while we are ignored, someone else seems to have all the fun? That’s a tall order, to stay joyful and peaceful and content when someone else seemingly “has it all.”
But by the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we can overcome jealousy. And if we spot jealousy for what it is and what it does, we can ward it off before it plants insidious seeds of bitterness and hate in our hearts.
- Confess your jealousy. Remember, it’s not a harmful “green” emotion; it’s a sin. Agree with God about that. Once we confess our sins He can begin to redeem the harm we’ve already caused.
- Thank God for His provisions for you. Take the time (a lot of time, if necessary!) to thank God (out loud so your own ears hear your praise) for all the things He has provided for you. Agree with Him that He has more than adequately met your needs, and praise His lavishness.
- Ask God to continue to bless the person of whom you are jealous. Invest in them being blessed! Thank God for blessing them and acknowledge that He has every right to give them good things.
- Ask God to replace your jealousy with love and grace toward the other person. He can do a supernatural work to root out your bitterness and pour in gracious thoughts and feelings toward that person. You can be joyful for the other person instead of jealous of them.
- Keep your focus on Jesus. Seek Him, His presence, His blessing in your life, His provision, His grace. Worship Him and give Him authority in your life.