Jealousy, the green-eyed monster, is something we all have to deal with sometime. This feeling of resentment expressed by not 'rejoicing with those who rejoice', is unfortunately prevalent in the church. It is an emotion that seems to creep up on us; if the truth be said, it actually emerges from within us! What is it that makes us uneasy at the good fortune of others?
In the fourth book of James, verses one through to four, we are given a reason for this ungodly act of jealousy:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (NIV)
An easy solution would be to ask God for what we want but I think the problem is, as explained in the above scripture - we ask wrongly! When what I ask God is the desire HE has put into me, then I cannot ask wrongly! Ask and receive so that your joy may be full (John 16:24) but ask correctly!
When we feel uneasy about what our fellow men and women have, we are simply saying that we, not they, deserve it. I know we often use the expression, "I envy you"; in actual fact, this is quite mild. We are simply saying, "Oh, I would like to be in your shoes!" This is completely different from being distraught because of someone's success, for example.
If your success, a source of happiness for you makes me unhappy, it's time to get on my knees and pray against the spirit of jealousy. God expects us to live in harmony with each other, as brothers and sisters in Christ. If we belong to the family of God, we belong to LOVE himself. Whatever affects you should affect me and vice-versa. My contentment or ease of mind stems from who I am in God. So, when I am content in him, I will have no reason to be jealous of you but instead, I will rejoice with you. Hebrews 13:5 says:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (NIV)
You see, my being content does not depend on what I have nor what I am but whose I am. I belong to God who has promised never to abandon me but to be ever present to care for me. He is the fountain of my life and as long as I continue to make him my source, what I have and who I am/become, will be exactly what he desires. The result: my life's purpose is fulfilled and I shall be content.
James 3:14-16 advises us not to harbour envy because it is earthly, unspiritual and demonic and it brings about disorder and evil practice! In other words, this is definitely NOT a feeling we want to have.
"Well, what about those moments when things should be going wonderfully well and instead, everything's upside down? I work hard and work harder and do this and that and... It's just not fair! I deserve..." In such moments, I would recommend listening to apostle Paul in Philipian 4:11-13 (NIV)
...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
This scripture says to us: There will be ups and downs but there is a secret to coping with the unpredictable changes - the lows and highs and the good and bad. I am endowed with the strength of God so that I can deal with whatever comes my way.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, with your help, I let go of jealousy and envy and embrace your love, which strengthens me in every situation, in Jesus' name, Amen.
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Till next week, keep on walking in Christ.